Thursday, January 18, 2007

January 18- Waiting on Elizabeth

This is the article that our newspaper, The McDuffie Mirror, wrote about Elizabeth. You can see it online, too, at
Waiting on Elizabeth: Dearing couple plans two-week trip to China to finalize adoption of baby girl in February
Lynn Davidson
Staff Writer
After eight years of waiting, a Dearing couple will travel to the other side of the earth to bring home the baby they've been praying for. On Jan. 4, Todd and Shari Upchurch received the official word from the Chinese Children Adoption International Agency that they have a baby daughter.
"I've waited so long. We've been trying all this time to have one of our own, and the Lord didn't choose to give us children," Mrs. Upchurch said. "Now, I am so excited to finally see her sweet little face."
The couple will travel to China in approximately four weeks to pick up their daughter, whom they've named Elizabeth, and stay two weeks to finalize the adoption.
Mr. Upchurch said he and his wife have been talking about adopting since before they were married in 1998. He said he has always felt a burden for orphan girls in China because of the country's "one-child policy" that reportedly cause many people to keep baby boys because they can grow up to work and help support the family. Mr. Upchurch said he has a special place in his heart for abandoned children also because he was abandoned as a child by his biological father and later adopted by his stepfather.
Mrs. Upchurch said she first became aware of international adoptions when she was young and saw the story of an Olympic athlete-orphan from Romania featured on television. She said at that time, she thought she would never have children on her own, but "I wanted to adopt 12." When she married, Mrs. Upchurch adopted her husband's two children from a previous marriage - Josh, who is now 19, and Danielle, now 20.
While most Americans were filing their taxes last April 15, Mr. and Mrs. Upchurch were sending in their application to the adoption agency. What followed was "mountains and mountains of paperwork," two home studies and finger printings.
"But it is so worth it, because we get our baby Elizabeth," Mrs. Upchurch said. "There is nothing secret about you after you've gone through the adoption process. And now it's the fun part."
The Upchurch's are enjoying every moment of "the fun part." They proudly share their news through an online journal of photos, feelings and facts as the events unfold. Mrs. Upchurch said she was pleasantly surprised when Josh produced a short video about his new little sister.
The spare bedroom in their house has already been changed to a nursery, complete with pink curtains, ribbons, and bows. Members of Cavalry Baptist Church, where Mr. Upchurch is pastor, have planned a baby shower, and many friends have donated infant clothes and toys.
Through their journey, the Upchurch's have befriended other families in the Central Savannah River Area who have adopted, or are adopting, international children. Mrs. Upchurch said they will have dinner with several of these families Saturday in Augusta, and she can't wait to "show off pictures" of Elizabeth.
Although everyone they know shares their excitement, Mrs. Upchurch said they have had a few questions as to why they chose international adoption. Her favorite question was if Elizabeth would speak English.
"Does any eight-month old baby speak English?" she said with a laugh.
After successfully home schooling both Danielle and Josh, the Upchurch's said they plan to home school Elizabeth also. Although they plan to teach her native culture, the couple said they are not going to focus on it.
"I'm not anti-China, but I'm not raising her as a Chinese daughter. I'm raising an American daughter," Mr. Upchurch said.
His wife has the same opinion, but from a different point of view.
"She's from the Guangdong Province, which is in south China, so she's still a Southern girl," she said with a laugh. "So she will be perfectly fine with grits and 'y'all.'"

Shari,I just realized I posted this on an "old" date - didn't know if you would read past entries so here it is again... I found you on the RQ site - have read your other blog (and loved it!!) for months. Elizabeth is beautiful! And, I just figured out that you are near Augusta - my hometown! My husband and I live in Texas now but would one day love to return to the Deep South as all my family is there. Small, small world. Maybe we can one day meet. We have been logged in 8 months now - still have a long way to go - Blessings, Lynn
Posted by: Lynn Barton on January 21, 2007 at 02:46 P.M.
Hi Lynn!!!Definitely be sure and let me know when y'all are back in the area visiting family!! I would love to meet you!!!I know y'all do have a ways to go before a referral and the waiting is HORRIBLE!!! But, we were in the middle of getting "the call" from our agency and Todd looked at me and said something to the effect of "it sure doesn't seem like we waited very long, does it?" HA!! At that moment in time, 15 1/2 months of waiting was nothing but a snap. Quick. Over. What a relief!! I'm POSITIVE you will say the exact same thing!!It's soo good to "meet" you!His,Shari
Posted by: Shari on January 21, 2007 at 08:12 P.M.

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