6 Month Famliversary

I’ve been completely MIA on this blog and I do have intentions to catch up, but before I do I need to take a moment and celebrate because today is the 6 month anniversary of Kim’s adoption into our family. It’s our famliversary!!

There are still days I look at her sweet face and almost have to pinch myself to believe she is really here–that she’s really in our home and really our daughter. I often wonder how we got so lucky, and I stand in awe that I have the privilege of being her mother.

We celebrated today by doing ordinary family things. We went to Evie’s violin lesson, got Timmy out the door to preschool, had lunch, took naps, enjoyed dinner and got messy eating too much Nutella, then finished off the day with Kim playing in the sandbox while I pulled weeds. Through it all I stood back and marveled at the normalcy of it. Of the fact that Kim feels like my child and caring for and loving on her is as natural as breathing, not only that, but that she completely reciprocates my love. She wants to be in my arms, she comes to me when she’s hurt or sad, she adores her daddy, she throws tantrums when things don’t go her way, she plays with and then fights with her siblings–In short, she behaves just as a two year old should with her family. And truly, it’s those little things that fill my heart to overflowing with joy and gratitude to the God who made this possible.

Riding the Wave

As I type I am sitting in the International Terminal at LAX. In one hour we will board a plane that will take us to China, then into Cambodia, and ultimately into Vietnam. It is completely surreal to think this day is here.

Things are still up in the air with Rob’s visa. We have two different well-connected people who are working to help us get Rob a visa. If it turns out he ultimately cannot get a visa, the plan is for him to remain in Cambodia while Nathan and I travel into Vietnam and complete the adoption. Once the adoption is complete, Rob will head for home while Nathan and I get Kim a passport and a visa so we can return to the States. I am entirely at peace with the idea of traveling into Vietnam without Rob. Do I like the idea? Heavens, no! But I have accepted it and am okay completing Kim’s adoption on my own.

What causes me intense stress is the idea that our adoption could be cancelled. Our adoption agency’s in-country employee is VERY worried if we push immigration too hard they will begin looking into the adoption and potentially cancel it entirely. Our other allies who are assisting Rob in his quest to get a visa do not share this concern. But, oh how it gets my mama heart racing to think there’s even a small chance we might not be able to bring Kim home.

The thing that sustains me is an abiding belief God is at the helm. I’ve said it before, but Kim is His daughter and He has a plan for her. For now, we are putting our trust in those who are advocating for Rob, and more than that we are putting our trust in God to guide them, and to soften any hearts that may need softened.


Anyone who knows me well knows I tend to function from a place of pretty high anxiety. I have worked very hard to learn coping skills and feel I have made extraordinary progress. The true miracle is, through all of this emotional turmoil I have had peace. My worries are present, but they do not dominate me. I have truly been blessed by the faith and prayers of so many of you.

I have been thinking a lot about a scripture in the Book of Mormon found in Mosiah 24:14-15, it reads:

14  And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.

15  And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

That promise has been made very real in our life. In spite of all the ups and downs, we have been mostly cheerful. Sometimes I have to take a lot of deep breaths before the cheerfulness returns, but overall we have truly been strengthened.


Now that we have all that serious stuff out of the way, I must say it is an absolute blast flying with Nathan. He hasn’t been on airplane since he was 3 years old, so everything is new and exciting.

We’ll be off the grid for the next 14.5 hours, next time I write I’ll be in ASIA! I want all my little loves at home to know they are in my heart every moment! I  can’t wait to Facetime from Cambodia!



Rollercoaster Ride

There are many titles I considered for this post: Giants Fall, Blessed are they who Humble Themselves without being Compelled to be Humble, Wherein I Try Not to Curl Up in the Fetal Position, Waiting for Mountains to Move, the list could go on.

As many of you have probably heard, the visa currently residing happily in Rob’s passport is no longer valid. Receiving that news was a bit of a punch in the gut, and we’re feeling pretty humble and utterly dependent upon God right now.

So where does that leave us??? We haven’t given up hope yet and are still working toward a resolution. We now have the San Francisco Consulate’s full attention, for it appears they issued Rob a visa when they shouldn’t have. Rob has sent them every bit of documentation we have, showing that his trip to Vietnam last year was authorized and legal, and showing we have been approved by the Vietnamese government to adopt Kim. Our big hope now is that Rob can get a visa through a sponsor in Vietnam. When Steve spoke with the immigration officer he was told everyone blacklisted as a result of last year’s trip was welcome to enter Vietnam again, but they would need to have a sponsor. Our adoption agency is waiting for one more piece of documentation and then they will approach immigration and ask to sponsor Rob. I really believe this is the most likely course to getting Rob into the country.

In the mean time, we’re completing the process of getting Rob’s Power of Attornry legalized by the Vietnamese consulate. When San Francisco issued him a visa, he didn’t bother with the Power of Attorny. We regeret that big time now. Yesterday we overnighted the POA to our wonderful sister-in-law, Katie, who lives in Washington D.C.. On Monday Katie will take it to the embassy, get it legalized, then overnight it back to us so we can have it in hand on Tuesday. I hereby appoint Katie to be Kim’s Godmother! 🙂

We still plan to leave for Cambodia on Wednesday with hope that Rob will have a visa before we to travel into Vietnam on Monday, October 31st. If Rob still has not received a visa, Nathan and I will head to Vietnam without him. Once in Vietnam we will be met by a representative from our agency who will transport us out to Kim’s province. We will spend Tuesday and Wednesday at her orphanage getting to know her in an environment which is familiar to her. I am so grateful we are being allowed this time with her before we take custody of her as I think it will do much to ease her transition into our care. I’m also thrilled with the opportunity to see where she has spent the first two years of her life and to get to know those who have cared for her. Then, on Thursday we will head with Kim to the  Department of Justice in her province and sign papers that will make her legally ours! I am so hopeful Rob will be there, he hasn’t missed the birth of any of our children yet, and my fingers are crossed he won’t start now!

About a week ago I heard the song “Giants Fall” by Francesca Battistelli. I think it is the perfect theme song for the road we are currently walking. I want to make it clear we in no way feel the Vietnamese government is a mean giant we need to topple. We truly believe they are good and doing their best to protect their citizens. That said, navigating this process can feel a little like fighting a giant. This song has given me hope and courage as we have struggled this past week to work through the lot that has been handed us.

Giants Fall

Everyone’s telling you
To let go of what you’re holding to
It’s too late, too far
You’re too small, it’s too hard
Throwing water on that spark
Living deep inside your heart
With oceans of reasons
The things you’re not seeing
But oh, maybe they don’t
Know what you know
That you’re not alone

Don’t you be afraid
Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything’s possible
So step into the fight
He’s right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be too small
But watch the giants fall

We could really live like this
Can’t you imagine it
So bold, so brave
With childlike faith
Miracles could happen
Mountains would start moving
So whatever you may face

Don’t you be afraid
Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything’s possible
So step into the fight
He’s right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be too small
But watch the giants fall

Ask and believe
You’re gonna see
The hand of God in every little thing

Don’t you be afraid
Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything’s possible
So step into the fight
He’s right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be too small
But watch the giants fall

Miracles can happen
Anything is possible
Watch the giants fall

We know God is at the helm and is very aware of our plight. We know He will be “right there by our side” and are waiting as patiently as possible for His arm to be revealed.

We would also like to express immense gratitude for the love and support we have felt. There have been so many who have rallied around us and prayed with us. Thank you, thank you all!

I Left My Heart in San Francisco


That pretty much sums up how things are going right now.

Steve’s conversation with the Vietnamese Immigration Officer didn’t magically solve all of our visa issues, so naturally it’s time for a trip to San Francisco.

Well, it’s not really about San Francisco, but entirely about the Vietnamese Consulate located there. The plan is for Rob to fly out tonight and back Friday morning. That will give him a full day at the Consulate. Our goals are two fold:

  1. We are attempting to secure Rob’s Power of Attorney so I can complete the adoption without him. In order for his POA to be valid in Vietnam, it must first be notarized, then authenticated by the Utah State government, and finally it must be legalized at the Vietnamese consulate. Cue trip to the State Capital followed by a flight to good old San Fran.
  2. We are hoping to work out his visa issues so we won’t actually need the POA.

Any prayers, well wishes, shout-outs to the universe, and other good juju are welcome and appreciated.

If Rob is unable to get a visa, then we will cancel his plane ticket and buy one for Ruby instead. While I know Ruby would make a most excellent traveling companion and that she, Nathan, and I would totally rock Vietnam, I’d feel a lot more comfortable traveling with the man who actually speaks the language. That and I simply cannot imagine Rob having to wait to meet his new daughter until we get back to the States. She needs him. She needs to get to know him in her country of origin. She needs his playful, loving, tender heart during this time of newness as she learns to know us and trust us.

Keep the prayers coming.

Faith and Fear

It has been said that Faith and Fear cannot exist in the same heart at the same time for one will dispel the other. I’ll tell you this, faith and fear may not be able to exist together at the same time, but they sure do a good job of taking turns standing on center stage.

Who would have thought this part of our adoption would be this hard?

We’ve made a lot of progress in the last 24 hours, nothing is resolved, but at least we now know what is happening. What do we know? Rob has indeed been blacklisted. Through a few different miracles we were able to discover what caused the blacklisting and I’ll tell you this– knowledge is power.

In November of last year Rob headed to Vietnam for his second time to do humanitarian work. The day before he left was the day we fist saw Kim’s picture and committed to adopt her. It was a good trip for Rob, everything went according to plan and he came home happy. That trip is the root of all of our current difficulties. The trip organizers decided everyone in the group should travel to Vietnam on Tourist Visas rather than a more difficult to get, but needed for what they were doing, Work Visas. An immigration officer found out about this and flagged the passport of every member for the group, so now Rob cannot enter Vietnam due to visa violations.

Here’s the cool part of this rather desolate situation, a few months ago the group’s organizer, Steve, applied for a Vietnam Visa. Naturally, Steve was denied. It took him two trips to the Vietnamese Consulate in San Francisco and some serious detective work to discover the root of the problem. Amazingly, a few days ago Steve was able to track down the phone number of the exact Immigration Officer who flagged all of their visas and was already planning to call him tonight to apologize and ask forgiveness. When Rob called Steve last night hoping he may have some answers, Steve had already done months of preparation to give us the help we need.

Please pray for Steve as he talks to the immigration officer. Steve needs the right words to say; also, please pray  the immigration officer’s heart will be softened in our favor. Please pray this will not interrupt our adoption because there is some concern immigration could call the DOJ and alert them that Rob cannot get a visa and then the adoption could be cancelled all together. It’s potentially scary stuff.

If Rob cannot get a visa the only alternative for our adoption to proceed is for Rob to give me his Power of Attorney and then I can sign the adoption documents for him. While this is not ideal, it still keeps us moving forward. That said, it will take 2-4 weeks to get the Power of Attorney authenticated and legalized and as such, we would most definitely need to move our G&R date back.

We are hopeful, but oh how we need everyone’s faith.

Roadblocks and Stumbling Blocks

Just when you think everything is smooth sailing, leave it to life to set up a roadblock.

Between the craziness of travel preparations and the newness of this blog, I forgot to share: WE HAVE A G&R DATE! On November 3rd Tien Kim Nguyen will legally be our daughter!

Upon receiving this news I immediately called Rob but couldn’t get through. I remembered he was in the middle of a meeting so I sent him a text that read, “November 3rd”.  That got his attention. After so much waiting, wondering, and worrying there was finally an end in sight!  Rob was so happy, he cried like a baby.

We immediately began to make travel plans and were thrilled to discover our plane tickets were going to cost several hundred dollars less than we had initially thought. Previously we had decided to bring Nathan along on this adventure, so we booked three tickets for the outbound trip and FOUR  for the return trip. We also decided to leave a few days early and first fly into Cambodia to see where Rob served his mission and to take a trip up to Angkor Wat. We began researching and booking hotel rooms in Phnom Phenh and Siem Reap Cambodia, as well as in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam. I also applied for our visas into both countries.

Cue Roadblock.

On Friday I received word our Vietnamese visas had been approved, but upon further investigation I found that only Nathan and I had been approved. Rob had not. At first I thought this was a mistake and requested they send Rob’s visa documentation. That’s when the crisis began. They told me Rob had been “blacklisted” and could not get a visa. I was told to contact the embassy to see what to do from here. Maybe it was a mistake?

This was horrible news to receive, but particularly so on a Friday afternoon. It was 3:00 am on Saturday in Vietnam, there was NO chance of resolving this before Monday. Worst case scenarios began to play out in my head. What if this is something we cannot overcome? If Rob cannot enter the country then we cannot adopt Kim. I felt like someone had just told me, “Prepare yourself, there’s a chance your baby will be stillborn.”

We reached out to everyone we could, which was tricky considering it was a weekend. We were fortunate to have a few resources in Vietnam and at this point there are two different men looking into it. One of them was able to do a search on Rob’s passport number and couldn’t detect any problems. That gives me hope this is all a big mistake and Monday morning we will receive the happy news that we are good to go! In the mean time we are asking for prayers for a quick resolution. I have also felt the prayers of peace and comfort that many have said for us.

Today we are nervous, but hopeful. We also have great compassion for all who worry and grieve over children whether they be biological, adopted, or in process of adoption. Uncertainty over a child you love is gut wrenching; but, we also testify to the peace that can come from our loving Father. Throughout our adoption process when things have been difficult I have had to repeatedly reminded myself: Kim is His daughter too, He knows her, He loves her more than I can understand, He is aware of her and He is aware of me.



Article 5

We received excellent news yesterday in the form of an email sent by our adoption caseworker. Our Article 5 has FINALLY been issued! I discovered the email as I was standing in Rob’s office waiting for our kids to finish having their teeth cleaned. I literally shouted for joy when I saw the subject line: Article 5 Letter. This was the final hoop, the very last step we needed before we can travel to Vietnam and bring Kim home.

Now we are just waiting for an invitation for our Giving and Receiving Ceremony, or G&R for short. The G&R will happen in the province where Kim lives, and it will make her legally ours. That’s pretty amazing, it gives me chills just thinking about it.

Once we have the G&R invite we can pack our bags and buy airline tickets! I am hopeful to have the invite in the next week or so, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned from international adoption it’s that things rarely go just as you hope. That said, our caseworker is still optimistic that we will travel in mid-late October. That’s only 2-4 weeks, folks. It’s getting very exciting around here!

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

The questions we most frequently get when people hear we are adopting are, “How did you find her? What inspired you to do this?” To answer that question I have to go back 4 years.

Four years ago I was an exhausted mother of 6, the youngest of which was 6 weeks old. I felt safe and secure in my belief that Rob and I were done having children. After all, 6 kids is a lot of kids. However, my world was rocked when I distinctly felt another child, I knew beyond anything there was another child for our family. Rob later confirmed this impression with an experience of his own. In my postpartum haze this was difficult news to swallow. I was barely equipped to handle 6 kids, how on earth would I manage 7? Additionally, from a strictly obstetric perspective, I was getting old. This was an emotional time for me, full of much worry and anxiety. Oh how I agonized over how I would cope with this revelation. How God must have smiled on me, I can hear him asking “Why are you worried, have I ever left you alone before?”

I’m honestly not even sure when Rob and I came to the realization that we were actually done bearing children, but not done bringing them into our family. Somewhere along the path of conversation we realized we would find our child not through birth, but through adoption.


Baird Kids 2012

We felt strongly that Vietnam was where we would find out little one. This was also a logical choice for us since Rob had served a 2 year mission in Cambodia working with the Vietnamese people and was still semi-fluent in the Vietnamese language. However, at the time Vietnam was still working to become compliant with the Hague Convention and adoptions were not yet taking place between the United States and Vietnam. So we waited, we learned what we could about adoption, our children grew up a little and my heart started to relax, if only a little. We regularly checked the State Department’s webpage to see if there were updates on Vietnam’s progress and were excited with each new development.

In September of 2014 Rob and I were in Park City celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary. I made a quick check of the State Department’s webpage and found ADOPTIONS WERE FINALLY OPEN between the United States and Vietnam. We did not know at the time, but our little one was a newborn baby already living in the orphanage.

At that point we chose an adoption agency, Dillon International, and applied to adopt. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced so much paperwork in my whole life! It was slow going at first because while we were navigating the foreign waters of adoption and we were also building a house, which it turns, out is a full time job in and of itself. We moved into our new home in March of 2015 and in May of 2015 I began our paperwork in earnest.

By September of 2015 we were far enough along in our process that Dillon began sending us profiles of children who fit the age and special needs parameters we had agreed to. I remember my shock at seeing the first referral waiting in my email, I had not expected this yet! At that moment Rob was on a rather intense business phone call and I buzzed around him like an annoying fly waiting for him to hang up. He HAD to hear this!

Our first referral was of a beautiful 12 month old named Minh. I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that Vietnam has a very specific adoption program. Healthy infants are being adopted in-country, and I truly believe it is better for children to stay in their birth country, provided there are families willing to take them.That said, the children available to foreigners either have special needs, are part of sibling groups, or fall in the category of being an older child– aged 5 and up. Minh was born without arms. She was beautiful and extraordinarily talented. We saw videos of her playing with toys with her feet and using a pen to scribble on paper, she was absolutely delightful. As much as we wanted to agree to adopt Minh, we didn’t feel right about it. As we thought and prayed about this referral we knew she was not the right child for our family. It was heartbreaking to deny Minh and I grieved for her in spite of my inner assurance that this was the right thing to do. The good news is, as I type this, Minh is on an airplane with her adoptive parents coming to her new home in Kentucky! Thanks to the miracle of the internet I have come into contact with her adoptive parents and am so thrilled to see her adopted by a family who so obviously adore her.

Only two days after Minh’s referral we were shocked to receive a second referral. This was a 15 month old named Mai. Again, she was beautiful, but again we didn’t feel right about it. Once again, I have come into contact with Mai’s adoptive parents, wonderful people also living in Kentucky. They are anxiously awaiting their match letter and I pray they receive it soon! They plan to name her Gracie which I think fits her perfectly.

A month later in October, as Rob and I were on an anniversary trip in Hawaii, we were presented with a third referral. I told Rob I didn’t want to see it. It was too hard to look at these beautiful children who need homes and to keep feeling it wasn’t right. Rob felt it was important to at least look, he felt it would give us wisdom and experience for when the right referral came along, so I consented. This time the referral was of a 2 year old little boy named Tuong. At 2 years old he was still unable to sit, stand, or speak, but oh he was darling! Again, as we thought and prayed on the matter we still didn’t feel right about adopting Tuong. Unfortunately I do not know what has happened to him. I sincerely hope he has adoptive parents working to bring him home.

Our golden day finally came November 4, 2015, just two days before Rob was headed to Vietnam on a humanitarian trip. I opened my email and there she was, 14 month old Tien Kim. I was instantly in love. I called Rob and together we looked at her pictures, medical records, and all other information provided to us. Rob was right, having looked over and denied three previous referrals, this was SO different. We decided to accept the referral and move forward in the process of adopting Tien Kim, who we are planning to call Kim.

Two days later, Rob left for Vietnam, but the powers that be would not allow him to visit Kim, which was truly disappointing. However, while on his trip Rob was able to have Kim’s medical records reviewed by a pediatrician who is accustomed to treating children in orphanages. He felt her medical issues would likely be minimal.

Now that we had Kim in our hearts, our adoption efforts took on a whole new fervor. More paperwork, social worker visits, finger prints, forms filed with the U.S. government, more finger prints, and finally, approvals given. In spite of my best efforts our dossier did not make it to Vietnam until June of this year. There are so many moving parts in adoption, so many people involved, and most of the time, so little control. At this point we settled in for the long haul. We hoped to travel to get Kim before the end of the year, but really had no idea if that was a realistic expectation. By June I had established a good network of other Vietnam adoptive families and knew it was taking anywhere from 2 months to 11 months for Vietnam to finish their part and issue the ever illusive, most coveted, Match Letter. The Match Letter is what makes things official, it means things will start moving, it means the Vietnamese government agrees the child will be yours, in short, the Match Letter is the point at which adoptive parents can momentarily breathe a sigh of relief.

August 8, 2016 was Timothy’s 4th birthday and we were on a road trip to the east coast. We had just stopped for a birthday lunch followed by picking up supplies at Walmart in West Virginia. We were about to get back on the road when I checked my email. I screamed. There it was, OUR MATCH LETTER! Suddenly the van was alive with the sounds of celebration. Our match letter had come after only 6 weeks, it had come a month earlier than the earliest we had expected it.

Which brings us to today. I  have filed more forms, and now we’re waiting for Vietnam to issue our Article 5. This means everything is in order and we will shortly thereafter be invited for our Giving and Receiving Ceremony, or G&R. The G&R is where Kim will become legally ours. I expect our Article 5 any day now and then our G&R should be about a month after that. Right now we are mentally prepped to head for Vietnam in mid to late October. I have so many feelings and so many emotions, but mostly gratitude. Gratitude that we are finally to this point, that we feel prepared, and that Kim will soon be ours.