Some Very Big News from the Artsy Family

Friends, I have some VERY BIG, VERY EXCITING news to share with you today!

{When you hear what it is, you won’t blame me for yelling in all caps!} 

Hubby, Little Crafter, and I have been bursting at the seams for months now to let you in on our little secret, and the time is finally here!!! This fall, our family will be growing by the addition of an adopted child!

That’s right, our family of three is about to grow in number and in love as we adopt a sweet 10 year old boy from China. Little Crafter is going to be a little brother! Yes, you read that right. LC is turning 9 in August, and his brother turned 10 in April. Don’t worry, we have more than done our homework learning all about adopting an older child as well as adopting out of birth order. There are unique challenges and struggles every time a new child joins a family, whether by birth or by adoption, and this will be no different. We are doing the best we can to prepare for the changes that are about to rock our world, and all three of us can’t wait to welcome our new family member home.

No doubt, you have a few questions about the process, what led us here, and more, and although I wish I could sit down with you and answer them all in person over a good cup of coffee, we’re going to have to settle for an old-fashioned FAQ instead. Here’s some basic info…feel free to message me or to ask more in the One Artsy Mama & Friends Facebook Group!


Why are you adopting?

All three of us feel that we have plenty of love to share. When we moved two years ago, we ended up with four bedrooms, so we also have plenty of room in both our home and our hearts for another Latta! We feel like the absolute best way to live out our faith is by loving others like God does, and we are very excited for the opportunity to do that in a very tangible, practical way, giving a home and family to a child without either.

Why an older child? 

Older children in the system are often overlooked, as many families hope to adopt a baby or small toddler. In China, children age out at 14 and left to make their own way in the world. Without family papers, their ability to secure a job, buy a home, marry, drive, attend school, and more is incredibly limited. Frankly, neither hubby nor I wants to go back to the days of changing diapers; instead, we are immersed in the world of school age boys thanks to Little Crafter and his friends. It felt more natural and right to us to bring in a boy who would be close in age and a companion/friend for LC than to start all over again with a baby.

How did you choose/find this child?

A dear friend of mine from middle and high school who adopted a little girl last year shared a photo on Facebook of this young boy and a bit of his story. I can only describe it as love at first sight. His smile captivated my heart and somehow I just knew he was meant to be with us. We had only discussed adoption as a “someday” possibility at that point, and weren’t in any way, shape, or form thinking about pursuing it anytime soon. Everything changed when we saw his face. Although I didn’t hear an audible voice, I clearly felt God telling me that he was ours.

Why China?

Because for us, it’s about THIS child. He is the one. So wherever he was, whether America, Europe, Africa, or the moon, that’s where we’d be going.

What’s his story? Does he have a special need?

This sweet boy, who we have nicknamed “Scout,” was abandoned at the age of three. That’s about all we know, except that he was ill at that time. He does have a mild medical condition, but it is well controlled now by medication and will not factor into his everyday life here in America. We will have him evaluated here and expect based on conversations with our pediatrician that he may even be able to be off of the medicine completely once he is at home with us. As for the specific details, we feel that they are his to share at a later date if he so chooses, rather than having them spread across the internet.

What’s his name?

He has a Chinese name that we are unable to share publicly until he is officially and legally ours. {We are also unable to publicly share photos until that time, but trust me, he will melt your heart for sure}. We are going to offer him the option of an American first and/or middle name if he’d like one. We have three in mind that we are going to share with him and allow him to choose his favorite. All three were chosen because of their meanings and have significance to us, so whatever he chooses will be special indeed.

Have you talked to him? Does he know?

No, and no. This is *the* hardest part for me. We started this process in January and have prayed for and thought about him daily ever since, while he still doesn’t yet know that his family is on the other side of the world waiting for him. The entire process takes 9-12 months, but the child in question doesn’t find out until almost the end. He will not be told until after we get our official Letter of Acceptance from China in 6-8 weeks, or later. Once he does, we are very hopeful that we will be able to Skype or WeChat with him.

Where are you in the process? Isn’t it long and hard?

Yes! The beginning of the process is a time of gathering a billion documents, including passports, birth and marriage certificates, financial records, employment verifications, background checks, and getting physicals. There is also an extensive home study process that takes a few months and involves four visits with a social worker, the end result of which is {for us} a 17 page report all about our family. Every official document must be notarized, then authenticated at the county and state levels, as well as the consulate. It’s a lot of running around and tons of paperwork. Once all the paperwork is done, it is sent to China, where it is officially logged in, then translated and reviewed. That is where we are at this point…in translation. From here, we will receive our Letter of Acceptance, then apply for our visas to travel to China and pick up our son. Once we have them, we will receive official Travel Approval to enter the country. We originally hoped to travel in September, but it will more likely be October at this point. If you are interested in a more thorough explanation of the process or assistance, please reach out and I would be beyond glad to share the details with you.

How long will you be in China? Will LC be with you?

Adoption journeys are typically a 14 day trip. Families fly in to either Beijing {which we plan to do} or Hong Kong. A few days later, you travel via in-country flight, overnight train, or bullet train to the province where your child is living. You take custody at that point and have several days in the province to adjust to each other and explore. Finally, you travel to Guangzhou, where the American Embassy is located. The child has a medical exam and receives his/her visa at a consulate appointment, after which you are free to leave the country and come home. We are taking Little Crafter along…it’s the trip of a lifetime, and no one is as excited as he is to meet his new brother! We think it will also make “Scout” feel more comfortable, having someone his age to talk and play with.

Will he speak English?

Some. We learned that he has had several years of English class in school and knows basic conversation, like the weather, sports, likes and dislikes. In the meantime, the 3 of us are working on learning basic Mandarin so that we can converse with him in his own language too. {Wo ai kafei = I love coffee}! There’s a great app called Hello Chinese we’ve been using, along with books from Usborne and an audiobook.
We’ve heard that it’s typical for kids to become fluent in English within 3 months or so of arriving in America, thanks to immersion and school!

Interesting trivia/things that make you go hmmm…

Hubby and I had our first date back in 2000 at…a Chinese restaurant. And although he proposed somewhere else, the proposal was in a fortune cookie. He had removed the actual fortune and replaced it with a paper reading, “Will you marry me.” Little did we know!

If you’ve got more questions for us about the process, please do email me or ask in the Facebook group. I would love to share about our experiences. We invite you to celebrate with us and to anticipate Scout’s arrival with us as we look forward to the day we can travel to bring him to his forever home. If you pray, we would love to have your prayers for us and for him…for a speedy process and for preparation in all of our hearts. Stay tuned for more posts to come as we prepare his room and the rest of our home for welcoming him. I have already shared a few projects, like the Chinese “love” sign and a pair of earrings made from Chinese beadsOh, and remember that super-fun Roaring 20’s gala? That was a fundraiser party we held to help with the considerable cost of adopting. But you can count on lots more posts coming soon! Thanks so much for sharing in our joy as we grow our family in number and love!

“Adopting one child won’t change the world, but for that one child, the world will change.”

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  1. Wow! Exciting news for all of you! Will be praying that the process will be smooth until Scout can come to his forever home.

  2. What a beautiful post…I love the trivia part too…Praying for all of you and excited for Scout to be here soon…

  3. Absolutely thrilled with your plans! Our daughter taught in S.Korea for two years and our trip over was a game changer on how we viewed things in life. What a blessing you all and he are going to be to each other. Praying that God does a mighty work in all those involved! Bless your sweet son for wanting to be a part of all of this!

  4. “Scout” is one lucky little guy to become a part of your family! I read every word of your post and can feel the excitement and anticipation throughout it all! LC will be the best brother ever …the photo of him sitting next to the empty chair with the sign is the BEST ever! Keep us posted and may God grace every step of your journey.

  5. THIS IS SOOOOOOOO AWESOME! Brought tears to my eyes to read. I am sooo happy for you and your family! And for the little one who will be joining your wonderful family!! Can’t wait to “meet” him through your posting!

  6. Wonderful news and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!! My husband and I adopted our only child from China 17 years ago when she was 20 months old. She is about to turn 19 this summer and heads off to college. She has been our biggest blessing. She is from the Hunan province.

  7. Congratulations! What an exciting and blessed time! I love your work & Blog. I’ll be praying for all four of you as this new adventure begins.
    Debbie Finley

  8. Congratulations!
    If you haven’t already, I highly recommend the book ‘The Connected Child’ – it’s a great resource. Not only has it helped me parent the children I’ve become responsible for as older kids, but it has helped me parent my biological children.

  9. I really don’t care about questions as I believe anyone adopting as you are will do all the homework required. However with that being said I do want to say, CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU, YOUR HUSBAND AND LITTLE CRAFTER! You all have been given one of the best blessings you can get and you have blessed this child. i will pray for you all for a smooth ride! BEST WISHES!!!!!!

  10. Congratulations on the adoption of your new son! This is awesome! I have an adopted nephew. He was given to my sister when he was 1 day old. He looks nothing like my sister and her husband. They are both blond and fair skinned. Joshua is half Hispanic, and looks it!

  11. Congratulations!!!! How amazing!! I love your reasons for adopting an older child!! It is so very heartbreaking that they do get forgotten. Your family is fabulous. Good luck. May God continue to bless you throughout you adventure. Will be praying for you all.

  12. Oh Amy, I am so excited for all of you!!! I am quite familiar with the process you have been going through. My best friend adopted two baby girls from China 3 years apart (first about 14 years ago and second 2 years after). This friend and her husband were in their 50’s and had already raised 4 children. Talk about a shock to me! The Lord apparently spoke to their hearts and the rest is history. Lauren’s (the first child) adoption was much quicker than Ashley’s (second child). Lauren was less than 1-year-old when they brought her home. They thoroughly enjoyed their trip. They learned the the culture and toured while waiting to go to the province. Once Lauren was placed in Carol’s arms they toured some more to become acquainted with each other, and then went through the birth certificate, etc. process and came home. I have never seen 5 more glowing people than they were when they arrived at the airport. Lauren was a little timid, but she caught up fast and is a delightful teenager. After enjoying her as a family, they decided to adopt another baby girl, again God intervention, and they wanted Lauren to have a playmate since the other children were grown. Apparently there was an age limit, back then, to adopt a baby and they had passed that age limit by the time China approved their documents. This adoption took longer because they could either adopt an older child or one with special needs. Special needs included hair-lip, large birthmarks, walking difficulties, etc. Well that was not going to stop them. They chose Ashley who had a valve dysfunction which might have required surgery as she grew. It took almost 3 years before they could go to China. I think the bird flu was in China then so that was the big holdup as they were not allowed in China until it was under control/pretty much gone. Once they finally got there they toured as they had with Lauren and then went to the province to get Ashley, which was a different province than Lauren’s and went, touring there. The same family members went plus Lauren to get Ashley. Lauren was so excited, as I feel LC is. When we met them at the airport … oh my gosh Ashley was tiny for her age, and very scared to leave her mom looking at all of us welcoming them home. I wanted to hold her so much, but Ashley did not go to anyone other than the family for about a month. When Carol took her to the doctor about her valve problem, it was not a big problem and this issue healed itself! She has been fine ever since. Ashley is starting middle school this year and Lauren is starting high school. I can’t believe they have grown up so fast. Lauren and Ashley are so close, not only to one another, but to Carol’s own children. They are quite a family! It is amazing to me that Lauren and Ashley’s personalities are as different as night and day, but the closeness they share is heaven sent.
    It’s an amazing experience from Carol’s account, and since you will be traveling in a group, you will meet some new people adopting just like you are. Carol has kept in touch with many of the people in both groups. They have a get-together once a year for “Get Day” which is the day they first met their adopted child.
    There is so much more I could share, but there’s only so much you can take in at one time. If you have questions that I can ask Carol for you, or whatever, please do not hesitate to let me know. My prayers are with all of you, and I hope you hear soon so you can finish planning the trip and GO! Hugs to you all!

  13. That is exciting! All of my children were adopted, twos as infants born in Indiana two years apart, and a sibling set from Russia, ages 9 and 10. We also adopted them out of birth order; our first children were 4 and 2. They are all grown now, ages 19, 21, 26, and 27, and I would be happy to talk about our experience if you’d like.

  14. Can’t begin to tell you how your news has touched my heart. May God bless your wonderful adventure and keep all 4 of you happy and healthy.

  15. Such wonderful news…. such a precious story…. brought tears to my eyes! Prayers going up from Southwest Florida for y’all!

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