Showing posts from 2011


On Monday night of this week, we found out that we could book our travel to Taiwan.  We had two hurried, frantic days of packing, booking travel and hotels, then on Thursday morning at 6:15 a.m., we departed Nashville on the biggest adventure of our lives.  Not only are we meeting our daughter later today, neither of us have ever traveled internationally, so when we decided to do something, we decided to go big, or go home!  After so many months of waiting, it is hard to believe it is finally here and TONIGHT, I will be holding my daughter as she (hopefully) sleeps!  This are the moments we have been longing for.  This is what life is about.  Taking giant leaps of faith and gaining experiences and memories that will last into eternity.  This child is so loved by the people here in Taiwan who have cared for her since she was born last January at only 1.5 lbs, 12.5 inches long, 26 weeks gestation.  The nurses at the hospital NICU where she was for the first three months of life, the baby

Advent Ending: Amber Joy Elizabeth Miller (officially!)

Last year at Christmastime, I wrote about the waiting of Advent.  This year, our wait is nearly over!  On Friday, December 16, our final decree, declaring that Amber Joy is officially ours, was signed!  We are ecstatic knowing that we are finally parents, after 45 months since we first began trying to get pregnant.  I count the almost two years before we even started our adoption journey as part of our adoption story because had we not found out we suffered from unexplained infertility, we would never have our Amber Joy.  I know this might sound strange, but we are 100% fulfilled and content with growing our family through adoption.  I was reminded of our struggle to get pregnant this past week when I had at least two people tell me, "well you know what would be really neat?  If you got pregnant now!"  I could truly, honestly say that I am THANKFUL that God chose not to allow a pregnancy and to rather grow our faith through adoption!  At first, it was hard to let go of the id

First Decree is Here!

So, I'm a few days late with this post, but I want to shout from the blog rooftops--we got our first court decree!  Amber Joy Elizabeth Miller is nearly on her way home!  We are so excited, and nervous at the same time.  We are still hoping to travel to Taiwan by the end of the year, hopefully before Christmas.  We may have to stay in Taiwan a little longer than originally planned to get to be with her at Christmas, but Justin has a great job that is flexible, and I am a happy part-time employee of two jobs, from which I can leave quickly.  Thank you for praying!  And consider ordering one of our t-shirts now.  We are closing our store on November 30.

Court Holdups and other Hiccups

I cannot believe it's been a month since I posted.  Five months ago today, we got our first phone call and found out that Amber Joy (Chiah-Hui) existed.  It seems like yesterday, and yet, SO much has happened in five months.  One of the most vivid memories I have is that we used over 700 cell phone minutes in that first week when we found out about our sweet baby.  We had so many people to tell and so many details to cover as we tried to find out about switching our homestudy to international from domestic, when we would get photos, and asking Jeff, our referral source, 1,000 questions.  Here's the latest:  last Monday, another family that is working with the missionary in Taiwan had their first court date.  When the missionary was at court, she asked about our case.  She was told that they were missing a social work report on the birthmom.  We were told that the social worker was trying to 'find' the birthmom, but it turns out, birthmom was never missing.  She live

Fall is here!

I absolutely ADORE fall weather.  We got married in the fall...October 14, 2006, and that day in Nashville was 72 and sunny.  We were in the high 90's last weekend, then all of a sudden, fall came.  Monday, we turned off the air conditioning in the house and opened the windows.  I love the smells and socks and leaves of autumn.  It's as if the world is slowing down again from the crazy summer pace and heat and is finally cooling off.  Justin and I have recently picked up running (well, jogging for me), and it is amazing what a 30 degree difference can do for a person's run pace!  We went to Memphis this past weekend and were so excited to meet up with another couple who is adopting from Taiwan!  Their little boy, Jack Everett, is already buddies with Amber Joy!  We even have a picture of them together. ;)  David and Sherra are such great people and we are looking forward to a very long friendship! On a different note, fall always reminds me of certain times in my life a

First court date: Check.

Amber Joy's first court hearing was last night at 9:40 p.m. (central time), 10:40 a.m. Taiwan time.  I was up much later than that, just waiting to hear something from the missionary who is our power of attorney about how it went, or any decisions that may have been made.  I finally turned over and went to sleep around 1 a.m., having heard nothing.  It was excruciating.  We weren't even sure what we were waiting to hear, but to have no word whatsoever was much harder than I thought it would be.  I woke up again at 5:30 a.m., exhausted emotionally and physically.  Sleeping on our sofa seems comfortable at the time, but when you wake up after 4 unrestful hours, it is painfully obvious that it is NOT a bed.  After Justin left for work, I went to our bed and slept until 11:30 this morning.  I needed it.  When I woke up, I checked e-mail again and finally, there was news about court.  Court went well.  Amber Joy and her birthmom were there.  Before court, the social worker took Am

Journey to Amber Joy

We got an update this morning from the missionary who is caring for our soon-to-be-adopted daughter Amber Joy! We are so excited about this news!!!: Amber Joy is at her well baby check up. She can be changed to regular formula and no longer needs her inhaler as her lungs have improved greatly! She is up to 11.4 lbs and 20.4" long! Amber Joy's first court date is tonight at 9:40 p.m. Central time. Court should only take about 10 minutes, but we would love for you to remember our family in your prayers if you think of it at that time! The judge will see Amber Joy's birth mom, assign a social worker to do a report on the birth mom, and let the missionary know if he needs more information or if he is satisfied with what he has. We hope to get an update from the missionary after court is over. After this court date, there are two more decrees, and we do not really know when those will happen. We also received our immigration approval this week, which is HUGE! The US g

Our paperwork journey

This post is mainly meant for other families adopting from Taiwan (independent private) who might glean some insight into the paperwork process.  We live in Tennessee and this is a chronicle of our journey so far: We contacted Adoption Assistance in Smyrna, TN regarding our need for a new homestudy.   The application fee was $50.   Lisa Mosley was wonderful.   She worked with us intently to get our homestudy completed in six weeks time.   We had to do some additional training that was specific to international adoption, but we were able to do that training online at minimal cost.   She charged us $500 to update our homestudy from domestic to international, plus what we had to pay for a South Carolina background check (any state you’ve lived in other than TN in the past 10 years) for me and the online training.   Lisa got us our approved new homestudy on June 27.    After I got it, I e-mailed it immediately the director of the program in Taiwan (name protected on this blog).   When

Memories and Stuff

This blog is little different than my is personal musings about becoming a mom... This morning, I was walking around my house, getting things cleaned up and thinking "wow, we have a lot of stuff."  Sometime after my college years, I became more inclined to throw things away, rather than accumulate a lot of clutter.  I used to keep everything.  I remember a coloring project from elementary or junior high school that I spent hours doing and I just could never bring myself to part with it.  It was the cartoon character "Beetle Bailey."  I didn't have it on my wall in my room or in a frame, just in a box of things I wanted to keep.  There were countless other "to keep" boxes that I moved from one apartment to the next, I suppose because even though the trinkets in the boxes hardly ever saw the light of day, at least when I went through them every other year or so, it reminded me of simpler times.  There were birthday cards from years ago, pic

In the court!

Our paperwork is in the Taiwan courts! It was submitted on Monday, August 1, so what do we do now? WAIT. Of course! The name of the game! The more I have considered waiting, the more I am convinced that our lives will NEVER be finished with waiting. Once Amber Joy gets home, we will be waiting for doctor's visits, test results, first photos to come back from the photographer, first words, first steps...and it never ends! So, for now, I've accepted the wait as part of parenting. I'm sure I will continue to struggle!  Right now, our projected travel time is October-November.  We will have a court date, probably in early September, then two decrees.  After the second decree, the judge declares that she is ours and we are told to book our plane tickets! In other news, I am addicted to my daughter's photos!  We have made collages at Walgreens, she's all over the house in frames, and yesterday, I cropped some of the pics so as just to focus on all of her featu

One Step Closer

My wife is amazing! No, I am not just saying that for brownie points. Though I will graciously accept any that come my way. Stephanie has worked so hard to bring home little Amber Joy. Between work and school, I have been able to devote very little time to adoption details. Steph has been an awesome task master. She has done everything from organizing baby clothes, to stacking diapers, to driving our paperwork to Atlanta. Words cannot express how appreciative I am for her hard work in bringing home our little girl. I know that one day Amber Joy will as well. So last Friday, Steph drove our paperwork to Atlanta to be verified, stamped and otherwise certified by the TECO office (enter fancy name for embassy). They promised a 3-5 day turn-around, but had it done on Monday. Steph's cousin Catie works a few blocks from the TECO office and was able to pickup the paperwork and FedEx it to Taiwan for us. We have tracked it and verified that it is in Taiwan, but we cannot track it past th


A brief update on our adoption process...We are excited to say that Amber Joy continues to do well and is growing. The last photo we received was a picture of her in a 3-month outfit that we sent to Taiwan. She is a little over five months old right now, so she is still small for her age, but her little cheeks and arms are plumping up so well! She is a healthy girl! We would love to get pictures every day, but the way I see it, we will just have a lot of picture-taking to make up for when she gets here! Many people have asked us "when are you going to get her?" I wish it were that simple. Even after a child is identified in most international adoptions, there is usually quite a long wait to actually bring the child home. In this case, our adoption is private, not through an agency, and even though our home study is complete, we are now waiting for it to come back to us having been translated into Chinese. Once we get it back (probably in about a week from now), we have to

Joy in the morning

Since I am up at 4:00 a.m. due to lightning, thunder, and hail shaking the entire house, I thought this would be a great time to catch up on the blog.  Yesterday, we got the news that our home study is DONE and, after a few detail changes, it will be ready to e-mail to Taiwan!  After it is sent to our contact in Taiwan, it will be translated into Chinese, which takes about a week.  When we get it back after translation, the fun really begins.  We have to take the home study and several pieces of paperwork around to lots of different offices who verify each other and finally, it will be verified that Tennessee really is a state!  Then, we FedEx those papers back to Taiwan and we will enter their court system as prospective adoptive parents to Amber Joy.  It could be a few weeks to several months before we receive our travel date after the paperwork enters the courts.  We are prepared to wait as long as necessary, but obviously, we are praying that it is sooner rather than later.  We h

And for tonight...

Last week at church, someone said "Congratulations!  I saw pictures of your daughter!"  My first thought was, "I don't have a daughter."  It is still very surreal that she is ours.  We know that nothing is final until we have her in our arms, but this time, it just feels like it's really going to happen.  She is 11,500 miles away from us, but somehow, everything keeps falling into place and we believe that Amber Joy will soon be home in Tennessee!  This week, we got a brief update that she has gained a pound in just two weeks!  She has a healthy appetite, a good set of lungs that can be heard all through the house, and according to her medical records from the hospital, she is quite the little fighter.  She has some medical and other issues still to overcome, but we are hopeful, simply because of the way she has rebounded so far.   I have found myself day dreaming about the time when we get her home, the days at the zoo, first day of kindergarten, her fi

From May 17th

From May 17th... Friends, Thank you for your ongoing prayers! I am writing this at 11:30 p.m. because tonight, just like every night for the past 12 days, I have trouble shutting down my brain. We received a brief update today about our sweet baby girl in Taiwan. She is out of the hospital, not on oxygen, though she does have breathing treatments for her lungs since she was a preemie. She is taking 3 oz of formula every 3 hours like clockwork and seems to be thriving! The Taiwanese missionary says she has "quite a set of lungs." I would not expect any less from my child! An amazing "breadcrumb" of God's hand in all of this was something that happened this morning. Justin and I have had some debate over the baby's name. We had Amber Elizabeth picked out from the time we got married to honor both of our dear sisters. However, over the past few days, with everyone referring to the baby as "Amber," I began to realize that this was going to be

Plus One has a name!

Hi everybody, It's been a whirlwind of a week at the Miller house! The bottom line is that we have accepted an adoption referral (at least verbally) for a sweet, 3-month old baby girl in Taiwan! It was completely unplanned, as we have been on the path for a domestic adoption from day #1. However, God had other plans (usually does) and now, we are scrambling to apply for passports, update our homestudy, and begin educating ourselves on our daughter's special needs. Our daughter. Wow. She is ours! Amber Elizabeth was born in Taiwan on January 30. (There are still some undecided details about what her name will be...we are honoring both of our sisters, but we may add something that reflects her Taiwanese name). She was born at 26 weeks gestation to a birthmom who is 27 years old. Amber was only 2 lbs. On Friday, May 6, I got a phone call from my mother while I was in the toilet paper aisle at Target. One of my friends commented that at least I had plenty of tissue for the

Hannah's story

God has been talking to me about my lack of discipline in my spiritual life.  I usually do everything else I need to get done in the day first, then, if there is any time left (which isn't often), I spend a few minutes reading my Bible or a few moments in prayer.  Today, I got up, made coffee and a quick breakfast, checked the bank balance, then, instead of turning on the TV, I went to our den and spent dedicated time with the God of the universe.  Twenty minutes of silence followed by reading in 1 Samuel about Hannah: From The Message translation of 1 Samuel 1:1-19: "Penninnah had children; Hannah did not...Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.  Her husband said 'Oh Hannah, why are you crying?  Why aren't you eating? And why are you so upset?'...Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary...Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried--inconsolably.  Then she made a vow: 'Oh, God of the Angel A


Today, I realized it has been over a month since my last post.  Most of you know that the birthmother we had been speaking to made the decision to go with another family.  It was hard.  It was weird and a different emotion than I had ever felt.  We had just started to put our toes in the water of hopefulness when we were forced to jerk ourselves back from the edge.  To make things tougher, during the week we had been speaking with the birthmom, she found out that the baby was a little girl.  I used to think I wanted a boy, and of course we will be ecstatic about any child who finds its way into our home, but the idea of having a little girl is a dream for lots of moms.  I think that I moped around for about another week after we found out this was not our baby, and then I began to get that glint in my eye again, remembering that, in the end, when I have my baby in my arms, all of this waiting and heartache, like labor pains, will just be a memory.  This wait has strengthened my faith i

An egg to ponder

You would think that when we have a possibility of a conversation with a birth mom that it would have made the blog before today.  Afterall, I found out about this possibility this past Saturday...five days ago.  However, if there is one thing we've learned through this process, it's that everything has to go through the PROCESS.  There are i's to dot and t's to cross and we find ourselves being almost too careful at times: not sharing details, wanting to be vague, and waiting, even when we may not need to.  On Saturday, I received a message from an acquaintance telling me that she knows of a birth mom in another state who is interested in talking with us.  Even typing it right now makes it feel more tangible.  Up to this point, we have had trouble thinking of these babies as "real."  We can't see them, touch them, hold them, introduce them to our families, allow life to change the way it would if they were home...  Even though I'm considered "pap