Tuesday, December 15, 2020

 

Adapting to a New World

We met David 11 months ago!  He has grown and changed so much since we first met him.  The first few months he watched, observed, and took it all in.  He opened all the drawers and cupboards as he explored his new home.  At first, he listened, and we could see his mind spinning as we talked.  It was not long before he started to respond to requests, such as “time for dinner, go to the table”, and to our surprise, is now talking in full sentences.  What an amazing transformation for single year, especially since he could only speak a few Chinese words when he was placed in our care.  We have a hunch his language skills are, in part, a contribution from Rose, as she enjoys talking non-stop and narrating every move that is being made to her little brother.  We have watched him grow and change so much over the year.  He is very tough, independent, loves to help, explore, and be active. 

Health

We have had countless doctors’ appointments to determine why David is so tiny.  He is, in fact, less than 1% of anyone his age on all the various pediatric growth charts.  (Yes - We found out there are a lot of different pediatric growth charts!) Despite his small stature, he has grown three inches this year and is happy, eats well, has a regular sleep pattern, and is otherwise healthy.  His favorite foods are fruit snacks, chips, noodles, seaweed chips, vegetables, and fruits.  He does not like bread, peanut butter, or sweets.   

Growth and Development

This last summer, David went from being apprehensive the first few times at the pool to loving the water and bravely going underwater on his own accord.  He loved to fish at grandpa and grandma’s farm.  We enjoyed many fun days at the zoo, parks, and Vala’s pumpkin patch.  The best part of this year has been seeing David and Rose bond as siblings.  They get along amazingly well and the joy they share spending time together, playing and living life, is contagious.

Rose absolutely loves the holidays, and it has been fun to see her excitement as we have experienced David’s first holidays.  She has loved showing him all the firsts and showing him the ropes.

We cannot help but look back at God’s grace as we were able to travel to China in January and bring David home.  We are so thankful to Him for bringing David into our family.  He is truly a good and gracious Father.  We want to thank you for your prayers, love, and support this year. 

Saturday, February 1, 2020


It has been a whirlwind since our last blog entry, and we want to thank everyone that has been praying for us.  We planned on traveling to China on either January 3rd, January 10th, or February 7th based on appointments needed to complete the adoption in country and being able to line up hotel stay and flights.  We ended up being able to travel on January 3rd and are so glad that we did, as we just missed the outbreak of the Coronavirus. 

On January 3rd we flew from Omaha to Atlanta, Atlanta to Seoul, South Korea, and finally arrived in Guangzhou, China in Guangdong province on January 5th around noon.  Guangzhou is commonly called Canton and geographically located about 2 hours drive north of Hong Kong.      

The next day, January 6th, our family along with two other adoptive families went to the Civil Affairs Office to meet David for the first time.  We were jet lagged, excited, and a bit nervous to meet David for the first time.He was upset to leave his caretakers, but he warmed up to us with snacks, games, and affection.  The next day, our family returned to the same office to finalize the adoption. 

But wait! We were not done with the paperwork quite yet.  We had additional appointments on January 8th, 11th, 13th, 14th, and 16th before we could fly home on the 17th.  There were a few free days for exploring the city and bonding, but unfortunately David was sick with pneumonia, Rose had a cold, and Ryan had the flu.  We ended up taking 4 trips to a western medical clinic that was an hour drive away.  We were concerned for David’s immediate health in China before we could get him back to the States, but he has healed and is doing better now.

Despite the all the sickness, we were still able to enjoy a little free time.  We went for walks in the nearby parks, enjoyed eating out, and were even able to go on an evening river cruise which allowed us to see the city from a different perspective.  We all enjoyed the warm weather in Guangzhou, and it was fun to see the decorations for Chinese New Year.  The day before we flew back to the US, Michele and Rose were able to visit his orphanage and gather information for him as he ages. 

Both Rose and David were able to sleep on the flight home, which made it an easy flight for us.  It's been fun to see David explore his new home.  He loves toys and playing with his big sister.  Despite Rose being a little jealous of her little brother, she loves playing with him and telling him about all the fun things he can look forward to doing in Omaha such as going to the park, zoo, Vala's pumpkin patch, and swimming.

We're so grateful for your support and prayers.  We can't wait for everyone to meet our son.  He is truly a gift and we're so thankful to be his parents.  Please continue to pray for us as we have a lot of medical appointments soon. We are anxious to determine why David is not growing at the rate he should be as we want to provide the best care for his needs as soon as possible.  Please pray for his condition, pray for our ability to help him, pray for Rose to be able to adapt to our expanded family, pray for our patience, and pray for David that he can continue to adapt to his new family.

Thursday, December 19, 2019


After the birth of our adopted daughter Rose, we were placed on hold for our China adoption from the time of her birth in February of 2017 until August of 2018.  A year after being taken off hold, in August of 2019, we received a call from our adoption agency with a referral for a little boy.  We completed the necessary medical reviews and submitted our letter of intent (LOI) to China for approval.  After sending the letter of intent we told immediate family members and asked for them to pray for China to accept our intention to adopt this little boy.  In September, we received the letter of acceptance (LOA) from China!  Since then we have been busy completing the remaining paperwork, preparing for traveling to China, and preparing our home for his arrival.   

Thank you for patiently waiting with us, encouraging us as we’ve waited, and praying for God’s perfect timing.  We are full of gratitude for the opportunity to adopt again.  We started the process to adopt from China over four years ago, so it’s been on our hearts for years.

We are thrilled to travel to China in January and bring him home.  We have decided to name him David James Shank.  He turned two years old in November and has some growth delays and respiratory issues.  Rose is very excited to have a little brother and likes to pray for him at night. 

China allowed us to send David a small photo book so he can see his forever family.  It is probably the first personal possession he has ever owned.  Please pray for him as big changes are coming his way.  Pray for his adjustment and his ability to become attached to his new family, even now. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Rose Marie Shank was born on February 16, 2017, at 11:20 A.M!  She was 9 pounds, 8 ounces and 21 inches long.  We feel so very blessed to have her in our lives.  We have taken her to two pediatric visits in the last two weeks and the Doctor says she's a very healthy baby! We are beyond excited!!  Thanks for all your love, support, and encouragement.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

We successfully submitted our dossier to China in June of this last year. We have been patiently waiting to be matched with a child since that time. During the monthly conference calls the average time to be matched with a child has slowly grown from 3-4 months to 6+ months. It has been disheartening for us to watch the timeline slide and frustrating to not have been matched by this point, yet we understand it’s hard for our agency to predict how many children will released by the government for international adoption.

In November 2016 a family friend whose niece was pregnant and plans to have her baby adopted contacted us. Over the next month we were torn between continuing the China adoption or to pursue this domestic opportunity. After a lot of praying, discussion, and fact-finding we determined that we would place our China adoption on hold and pursue the domestic adoption.

We are still planning on adopting from China! We are allowed to keep our dossier in China on hold indefinitely as long as we keep our immigration paperwork up to date until we are ready. This is a little extra work overall, but we don’t have to start over and will be at the top of the match list once we are ready to adopt again in a year or so.

The baby girl is due February 12th, 2107. WOW! Because of that fact, this last month has been very hectic, as we have shifted gears from international to domestic. In addition to placing our current Chinese adoption on hold, we have had to work toward completing a new domestic home study, domestic paperwork, and preparing the essentials for a newborn.

One important fact to note is this domestic adoption isn’t 100% going to happen. We can have an adoption plan ready, but the mother may officially relinquish her rights 48 hours after birth and not before that time. If she changes her mind or the father seeks custody then the adoption will not go through. Please keep us in your prayers, pray for the birth mother, and pray for the baby. God Bless.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

We had our fundraiser “Jazzed to Adopt” this last Saturday at Union Orchard.  It was quite the party! 

We would like to thank everyone who helped make this event possible!  From setup, musicians, making and serving dinner, making home-made desserts, running the silent auction, selling raffle tickets, picking up trash, picking up after the event, and all the helping in-between that made this event go off without a hitch. There is no way this event would have happened without all the help.

We would also like to thank all those that attend to support us and give so generously.  Your kind words and donations are truly appreciated and we feel blessed to have so many good friends and family.  We would also like to thank Union Orchard for being amazing hosts.  It was a beautiful venue to hold our event!

We will be posting some photos as soon as we have them compiled!  If you were unable to attend or would like to support us you can do so here:  https://www.youcaring.com/ryan-michele-shank-564364

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

On Friday, June 3, our ‘dossier’ was sent to China!!!  The ‘dossier’ is the information China requires to adopt a child.  It also means we have passed trough all the hoops from the U.S. side and are awaiting China’s reception.  We have been waiting months for this moment and are so excited!  Our ‘dossier’ is currently being translated into Chinese so that it can be processed and we can be placed with a child.  Last week we were able to listen in on a monthly conference call with our adoption agency to discuss trends in matching Chinese children with families.   We will listen to the call every month and give you all an update.  On average it takes 3-4 months to be matched with a specific child, then 4-6 more months until we travel to China.

This Saturday, June 18, is our fundraiser at Union Orchard from 5:30-9:30.  Here’s a link for more information.  Please join us!!!!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1190912754266600/