Spring 2005
During the last 18 years we have tried to seek the Lord's guidance in the various aspects of our family's life. We can say that we are so thankful to Him for the many times He has directed us and helped our family. It has been absolutely amazing to us how the Lord has guided us to adopt Mary. Some of the specific details of how we were led to adopt Mary feel too personal to share online. Let it suffice to say that the Lord has guided us more often, more specifically, and more miraculously than He has about any other specific matter that our family has ever dealt with. Because of these things, we know that Mary is meant to be a part of our family. We know that although it will not always be easy (parenthood never is ), it is the Lord's plan that we be Mary's parents.

Here are some journal entries from Dawn's journal that recount parts of our adoption story. As said before, some details (especially of spiritual experiences)are being omitted because they are very personal. As you will see, we are sharing things that are plenty personal as it is.
FEBRUARY 29, 2004

"...First, we focused mainly on praying about a biological baby. We even took preparatory steps towards this... nothing big, just some medical appointments. As I continued to ask the Lord about having another baby, I have not felt a confirmation that this is the way He would have us proceed. I'm not saying that I'm having any strong experiences one way or the other. But I have been feeling like I'm 'kicking against the pricks'. Yesterday Scott and I talked about this. After he and I talked yesterday about our feelings concerning having a biological child, I handed him a stack of papers about adoption that I had just printed yesterday."

MARCH 2, 2004
"Scott gladly and positively looked at the papers. Since he is so overwhelmed at work right now, we decided that I would be the one to do more research into adoption--which I did that very same day. I have felt so right about this course every tiny step of the way that I have taken in this direction. I no longer feel that I am 'kicking against the pricks'. A little miracle happened, too. It has to do with prayer, and with my sweetheart. I have been feeling drawn towards adoption from China... I have felt 'right' about that path in the sense of being guided (by God) that way. I knew that Scott had no particular spiritual inckling, but he was leaning personally into the many South-American countries that many people adopt from. (for those of you who don't know, Scott served a spanish-speaking mission. Thus, he has a special love for hispanic people) Scott and I met twice Sunday to talk seriously about adoption. The second time, I handed him another stack of papers--this time, with info on mostly South-American countries, but China was in there towards the back. As he went through the papers, I prayed something like, 'Heavenly Father, if what I think I am feeling about China is right, please open his heart to China. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen' It seemed like within about three seconds of my prayer, Scott said something like, 'It looks like China would be a good fit for us.' I believe that the Lord answered my prayer." **NOTE: THIS JOURNAL ENTRY GOES ON TO RECOUNT A VERY SPECIAL, PERSONAL, AND MIRACULOUS EXPERIENCE THAT SCOTT AND I HAD IN THE TEMPLE IN 2000, BACK WHEN WE FIRST KNEW THAT THE LORD WANTED US TO HELP CHILDREN OF OTHERS WHO NEED PARENTING (AS WE'VE DONE THROUGH FOSTER CARE). THIS EXPERIENCE INCLUDED A REFERENCE TO CHINESE ADOPTION, BUT WE DIDN'T MAKE A CONNECTION AT THE TIME**

MARCH 28, 2004

"I must be the happiest woman on Earth. In around one year, we will have our precious new daughter. We are adopting from China! My happiness is a deep, grateful joy. I am so thankful to Heavenly Father. I thank Him and praise Him often. My prayers are also full of praying for our baby daughter's wellbeing. She is probably in her mother's womb right now. I feel a kind of gratefullness to this woman for helping our daughter to come to Earth and to get to us. I believe that Heavenly Father already knows the special child who is to be with us--it's just that that she is coming to us in a different sort of way. She is meant to be part of our family, and we will cherish her. One of the reasons I feel this strongly is because of how we have been led in this direction by God lately. I already wrote in this journal how I prayed that Scott's heart would be open--so that if we were supposed to adopt from China--he could be open about that. And I wrote about the dramatic answer to that prayer. I'm utterly grateful for Heavenly Father's guidance. When our daughter is old enough, we'll be able to tell her that Heavenly Father brought us together...

There are so many orphans in is because of the governments 'One Child Policy' mainly that so many babies are abondoned. I feel sorry for our little one's birth-mother. There has got to be a part of her heart breaking. I love her and pray for her. And I believe that she and I and Scott and our daughter will all lovingly talk together in the next life.

On Friday, we officially started the adoption process, and wrote that first check. It is going to cost a LOT of money. Also, there is a lot of paper work. But it is worth it!

All the grandparents are excited! We have already told them. I absolutely joy in the thought of our whole family go to the temple together to have our precious girl sealed to us..."

MARCH 29, 2004

Yesterday afternoon Mark, who is ten years old, asked me what I fasted about yesterday for fast Sunday. When I told him that I fasted for our little girl and for her birth mom, he said that he also had chosen to fast for our new baby girl. All the children are so happy about her joining our family.

APRIL4, 2004

My week has been quite consumed with adoption paperwork, faxing, trips to the bank, and talks on the phone. I am so pleased with our adoption agency, A Helping Hand. They are wonderful and supportive.

MAY 23, 2004

A little over three weeks ago, our family completed our four home study visits with our social worker, Heidi Tippet. We like her very much. Personally, I enjoyed the process of meeting with her and having her to get to know our family. It was fun to tell her about Family Home Evening, Family Council, Marriage Companion Inventory, Family Prayer, Family Scripture Study, monthly one-on-one outings with the kids, and our habit of reading books together.

JUNE 4, 2004

This morning I read 1 Samuel 1:27...
"For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him."
When I read it, I burst into tears. In fact, I'm still crying. I have definitely found a new favorite scripture.

July 04, 2004

Yesterday my sweetheart told me with earnest about how he has been praying so very much for our little daughter. He said that during this time of praying so much for her he has felt an impression from the Lord that there is a certain child that the Lord has chosen to be part of our family. I am so glad that Scott has had this spiritual knowledge from the Lord, but I have felt the same for months--- ever since the beginning of our decision to adopt. I am absolutely convinced that she is our daughter--- meant to be with us just as much as if she was born directly from my womb. There has been absolutely too much guidance for us at the beginning of the adoption process for that to not be true. I hope that she sill feel and know how we have longed for her and how much a part of our family as anyone else in our family. She will be adored and wanted. She is meant to be with us. I so much hope that during those inevitable times when families accidentally hurt each others feelings, that she will not blame it on being adopted. I know that I would have tended to do that when I was growing up. Our whole family is soooo excited for the time that she will join our family.

July 14, 2004

A couple nights ago...Scott told me that he felt that Mary was (HAD BEEN, AT THE VERY END OF JUNE), born. **NOTE: THIS WAS ONLY SEVERAL DAYS AFTER JUNE 30, THE DATE WE LATER FOUND OUT TO BE MARY'S BIRTHDAY**

First Began to Think and Pray About Adoption from China Late February 2004
Adoption Application sent to A Helping Hand Adoption Agency March 30, 2004
Medical Physicals (Scott and Dawn) April 21, 2004
Physicals for Rebekah, Scott, and Mark April 2004
First Home Study Visit April 23, 2004
Second Home Study Visit April 28, 2004
Third and Fourth Home Study Visits May 1, 2004
Application Filed to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) May 4, 2004
Pre-placement Approval Date May 25, 2004
Homestudy Sent to BCIS May 25, 2004
Fingerprints Done for I-600A June 24, 2004
Completion of Advance Processing for USCIS July 12, 2004
I-171H Recieved (US Clearence to Adopt!) July 14, 2004
Dossier Sent to China (DTC) August 6, 2004
Logged Into China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA)(LID) August 31, 2004
Referral Recieved!!! March 16, 2005
Referral Accepted March 21, 2005
Travel Acceptance Letter Recieved ???
Travel To China ???
Gotcha Day ???
Temple Sealing ???