We had the wonderful privilege of meeting the Lifeline Children's Services staff during their 30th anniversary/family reunion. In addition, we were able to see numerous Lifeline families who traveled from all over the country to simply celebrate adoption. Some families had teenage children, some had been home a few months with their new children, and others were like us, currently in-process. In all, it was worth our hours of traveling in order to participate in this memorable event. For us, it was a huge step to actually meet the faces of those we had only communicated with on the phone or via email.
When we arrived, they had many activities and crafts for children to enjoy while parents mingled and socialized with other families/Lifeline employees.
Then, we enjoyed a picnic lunch from Chick-fil-A.
Next, we had the opportunity to hear from Lifeline staff as they shared their growth and accomplishments in the areas of adoption and foster care over the last 30 years. As part of the celebration, the Chinese Delegation was recognized and honored. This delegation included the director of the CCAA (in charge of all adoptions in China), directors of adoption from each province in China, the Chinese representative for our agency, and the guide/translator who will assist us during part of our trip. Several presentations were made, including a donation to the director of adoption for Jaxson's province - specifically to the Maoming SWI (orphanage) where he first stayed as a baby. It is this SWI (social welfare institute) that Lifeline supports/sponsors. Even though Jaxson is in foster care, he is still "attached" to this orphanage, and they are ultimately responsible for his care.
After the presentations, the director for his province gave Alexis an ornament from China. Jason and I were thrilled to also meet a pediatrician from Birmingham who met Jaxson in July and prepared his medical report. Finally, before we left, we posed for a picture with our "international adoption specialist," who has handled our case with Lifeline.
We were also very excited this week because we sent our first care package to Jaxson! We used a service in China (owned and operated by a wonderful American family) in order to send Jaxson a few things for his upcoming birthday. It is VERY expensive to send packages to China, and even more expensive to pay for delivery. So, using an in-country operation is much more cost-friendly. We sent some books, a photo album filled with pictures we sent them, a toy, a letter to Jaxson and his foster family, some candy for him/foster parents, and a CAKE! The cake will be delivered to the orphanage, and his foster family will bring him there for a "party." We are supposed to receive pictures of the party within a few weeks. We will send more items to him as we continue to wait, but we were excited to send this first package so that he, and his foster family, know that a family is waiting for him!