Monday, July 1, 2013

Overwhelmed... but it's all good!

This morning Steve and I received the news that our final court decree has finally arrived for our little Silas Hsieh! We are hoping to bring him home in the next month... but waiting on our immigration services appointment date to know for sure when we will travel.

I am so ecstatic, and so overwhelmed by the amount of things I need to do before he comes home! I think I might throw a "Prepare For Silas Party" and invite people to my house to help me get ready!

This boy is ready to come home and be spoiled!!

Meanwhile, we are doing our final fundraiser to bring this little man home! If you want to help by giving Silas a wish/blessing, you can visit the following website and help us:

I'm also going to try and post a link to it on the blog itself.

Thank you all for your love and support!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

100 Good Wishes

The Gocke family has been so very blessed by all of the love, support, and prayers we have received during our adoption process. Silas is already so loved!! We are hoping to bring him home in July of this year, and still have a lot to do before we are ready to bring him home! We are trying to make one final push/fundraiser to be able to finish financing the adoption. Everyone has been great and so supportive so far! This last fundraiser is called "100 Good Wishes." It is inspired by the Chinese tradition called Bai Jia Bei (100 Good Wishes), where people make a 100 piece quilt in celebration of a new life. We have our online quilt, and you can purchase a patch for just $10, and include your wish or blessing for little Silas. Just go to the link listed, and make your wish/blessing for our bundle of joy! We love you all so much and appreciate you!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Getting Closer!!!!

Many of you have been asking for an update on Steve and I's adoption of little Silas man!!

Well things have been moving! On June 11th, we received our first court decree. Now we are waiting on the final decree and our immigration services appointment in Taiwan to be scheduled. We are hoping and praying to bring Silas home in July.

I will be traveling alone on the second trip. Steve's summer schedule is very hectic. I plan on making an extended layover on the way home in Seattle to spend time with my brother Joe, his wife Jess, and their daughter Luca Rose. The cousins need some play time!

This will be a difficult week for Silas, as his girlfriend, Claire, is leaving him and going home to her wonderful parents this week. Claire is the little girl that had the same surgery as Silas on the same day as his, and has been Silas' cribmate. I am sure he will be very sad, but her mom and I are already planning when we can get together, so the lovebirds will be reunited soon!

Several people have asked me what we still need for Silas, and there is definitely a lot that we still need. We have clothes, and we have plenty of eating and drinking utensils. We are needing some developmental toys for him. Silas is a little behind developmentally because his little body was so concerned with healing from his heart surgery, that he is a bit behind. But we will get him caught up soon!

If you want to go to our registry, we have registered at Target, and have many items on there that are still needed.

People have also asked us if we still need any help financially with our adoption fees, and we definitely do still need assistance in raising our funds. If you would like to help in this area, you can send a check to the Gocke home at 3912 Aberdeen Drive, Champaign, IL 61822.

We are so grateful for all of your love, support, and prayers!! There is no way we would be bringing our son home if it were not for each and every one of you!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


This post is a complete 180 degrees from my last post the other week. As I mentioned in my post, last week was a rough week. Mother's Day was just hard, and then feeling like our case was "stuck" and not moving was causing me a great deal of anxiety. I mean, A GREAT DEAL of anxiety!!

But then in this last week, things have gotten so much better! I actually called the orphanage because we had a question regarding the process and legalities. I was able to talk with them for about 20 minutes. Did we get this huge news that the judge approved us or that something amazing had happened?? No, but that wasn't what I needed. I just needed to talk. It was so wonderful to talk to Bev. It completely put my mind, heart, and spirit at ease. I am so grateful to God for this orphanage and how God has blessed and used them in the lives of so many already, and know He will continue to bless them.

We have also seen movement in the cases of other adoptive families that we know, and that provides a great deal of comfort. We know things are moving, and we hope to hear soon that our adoption decree has been received.

Meanwhile, our little man is doing great! They said he downed a bottle in five minutes flat the other day... which is really good for him. Bev said he has very strong legs, and I think he'll be a soccer star! Or a runner like his dad. We also had a baby shower, which was a blast. We felt so blessed and received so many gifts. On Monday I received in the mail this amazing present from my cousins!

We appreciate all of your prayers and support as we have been going through this process!

If you want a four minute quick tutorial of the history of Taiwan, here is a link to a cool video:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Yep... those two words describe me! I like things to be in order and organized just the way I want them to be. You can just ask Dayna... I like lists and get very excited about excel spreadsheets!

That was before my husband and I started the adoption process ourselves. Oy vey! I have this strong desire for control, but have absolutely no control over the process. As so many of you know (and I knew from a social workers standpoint), the adoption process contains many unexpected twists and turns. Our trust must be completely in our caseworkers, orphanage workers, foreign judges and government officials, Immigration Services, etc. There is nothing that we can do to hurry the process along or to make things go according to our own timeframes.

This weekend was difficult, as it was Mother’s Day. It is difficult to celebrate Mother’s Day when our child is 7,607 miles away from me. I needed to do something therapeutic, so I decided to paint our son’s soon-to-be-bedroom. The color we had decided on and bought was gray, and then have blue, brown, and white accents. So I spent a good 5.5 hours taping, trimming, and painting the room. It was quite therapeutic.

I finished around 9:00 pm, and looked at my handiwork. The walls ended up being purple! I had bought paint swatches, then paint samples, and painted little sample areas so that we could choose this color. Never was there any purple undertone. But here the walls were, finished, and looking terribly purple. I became mad. Really, really mad. My husband tried to comfort me, and told me it looked fine. I said, “No, it doesn’t look fine. It looks purple! I’m repainting it.” He is a very wise man, and the next words that came out of his mouth were the smartest words he’s ever said: “Let’s eat some ice cream.” I ate my ice cream and calmed down.

Why did I become mad about such a little thing as the color of the walls? It wasn’t the color of the walls that made me mad… it was that the one thing I felt I had control over at that moment did not turn out the way I wanted it to. In the process of bringing my child home, there is so little that I have control over. Painting his room was the one thing that I could do where I had complete control. So when my gray room turned out purple, it was just too much for me to handle on an already emotional day.

It reminded me of the story in Luke of Martha and Mary. Martha was so worried about making everything perfect for Jesus’ visit. She was probably like me, and a control freak. She most likely wanted to make sure everything was clean, that the food was prepared perfectly, that the best wine was being served. When I was young, whenever we would have guests over and my mom would be cleaning, my dad would call it “Martha Mode.” Every now and then she would go into what we called “Hyper Martha Mode”… that’s when you had best just stay out of her way. I guess I know who I get it from!

Then we have Mary. When Jesus was there, she sat at his feet and listened to every word he had to say… soaking it all in. Martha of course complained about Mary to Jesus. Jesus’ reply, found in Luke 10:41-42 really convicted me: “And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

I probably relate more to Martha than I do to Mary. Actually if I am being honest with myself, there is no “probably” about it… I absolutely relate more to Martha! I worry… I aim for perfection… I want control. But Jesus’ words in this Scripture hit me like a load of bricks… “one thing is needed.”

I need to be reminded that when those crazy times come, and nothing is going the way I want it to, I need to spend time at the feet of Jesus. I need to soak myself in His word, and in His presence. That is the “one thing” that I need. More than control… more than perfection… more than legal paperwork from Taiwan; I need Jesus.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Why I Hated Mother's Day

This weekend I had the honor of having an article published by Relevant Magazine on their website.
The article had been in my mind for several years, and I had a very strong desire to write it. However, I never felt that I was at an emotionally healthy place to write it. Finally, this year, I felt ready to put all of these raw emotions and feelings down for the public to view. I would go as far as to say that I distinctly felt God calling me to do this.

The pain that Mother’s Day can cause is a subject that is often not discussed, and I wanted to change that. I wanted to open Pandora’s Box… to allow that pain to flow out and let others know that they are not alone.

I pray that God allows this to speak to your hearts. Feel free to share with others.

Friday, April 12, 2013


I am the absolute worst at updating this blog... I know!!

So we are obviously home from Taiwan. Leaving Silas was the hardest thing I think I have ever done. He is the most precious little boy I have ever met, and we cannot wait to introduce him to everyone! He has the cutest little eyebrow dimples, and very expressive facial features. He is a total daddy's boy and just enjoyed chilling, being held by Steve or I. He is a definite snuggler!

While we were in Taiwan we absolutely fell in love with the country. It is beautiful, and the people there are so kind and wonderful. The above picture is during our day of sightseeing at Taroko Gorge.

On the Friday we were there we had our court date. We had the privilege of meeting Silas' birth parents, and we even got a picture with them that we will frame and put in his nursery. Silas looks just like his birth mommy. The court date went well, but after we got home the courts requested that we update our home study due to it being older than six months.

We met with our social worker, and have updated it. Now it must be translated, then we will need to go up to Chicago again to have it apostilled (authenticated). Then we send it to Taiwan and things can begin moving again.

Praying for patience, and for God's hand upon my little boy until he is in my arms again!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What else is there to do at 4:00 am?

It is 4:00 am on Thursday and we are wide awake. This whole time change jetlag deal is no joke.
We got into Taiwan Tuesday night and went straight to our hostel and got a good nights sleep. Wednesday morning we woke up early, Steve went for his run (there is no rest for marathon training), and then we got ready and headed across the street to the orphanage.
They immediately placed Silas in our arms, handed us a bottle, and ushered us to a little room to feed him. He is the cutest, cuddliest, sweetest boy ever! He is definitely a daddy's boy! They would just sit and chill together. He is very skinny and very long! His legs and toes are super long!
I can only describe the day as a crash course in parenting. They have alot of babies right now, so our day was spent playing with, feeding, and changing the babies. Silas' first gift to us was a very very fun diaper! Silas is not an easy feeder. For both breakfast and lunch he didn't finish it all, but daddy got him to chug all of his dinner down.
We also met with the court social worker. That went well and she was very kind. She had alot of questions about our families, our home, and our lives.
Today we will be doing some sightseeing and traveling to Taroko Gorge.
Thank you for the continued prayers!

Monday, March 11, 2013

On Our Way

Last night Steve and I began our long trek to Taiwan for our first trip! We left our house at 4:30 pm and headed up to Chicago. We stayed at one of those park and fly hotels... smart move on our part! If we hadn't done that we would have had to leave our house around 5:00 am today. Our thinking was to get a good nights sleep... but that definitely did not happen! I barely slept at all, while my wonderful husband snored away!
So i got up around 6:00 to get ready. Then we headed to the airport. The first flight to Minneapolis went smoothly. I am definitely getting caught up on some much needed reading. During the first flight I read Relevant magazine... they had a really great article on the changes within the church culture over the last ten years and the needed changes over the next ten years.
Now we are eating some delish Chili's before our next flight... 13 hours to Tokyo. During that flight I'll be finishing The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and then starting The Narcissism Epidemic.
After Tokyo we will have a quick layover before our final flight to Taipei.
Can't wait to hold my son in my arms! Thank you all for your continued prayers!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Black Hole

As I stated on yesterday's blog, we have booked our tickets to Taiwan! Now the rush is on to get things done! Last night we put the crib together (no "we" involved... it was all Steve). We did a great deal of hauling things out of the room which will be the nursery, and rearranging. We had to bag up alot of items for Goodwill. There was some marital disagreements (particularly regarding his 60-some t-shirts that take up a great deal of space), but the night was overall a great night as we both are so excited to bring home baby Si!

We also got a great book on traveling to Taiwan from our wonderful brother, Phil, yesterday in the mail! We have already been reading it. I also downloaded a Chinese language app so I can brush up on my Chinese.

So our flights are booked, and I am just so astounded and interested in the time change aspect of our traveling! We will be crossing the international date line. The way there is nothing astounding, but the way back is what utterly intrigues me! We have two layovers... one in Tokyo and one in New York. We fly out of Tokyo at 3:00 pm on Saturday and arrive in New York at 2:40 pm on Saturday. Yes you read that right! We will be arriving 20 minutes before we left!

Now I do honestly understand, but it is just so crazy to me! What happens when you cross the international date line? Do I age a day or not? What if I get lost in the time continuum? It's like a great black hole!

The flights themselves will be very long, so if you have any ideas for ways to keep entertained on a long flight, feel free to share!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What do we need?

As most of you saw yesterday, our adoption process is moving along!
Today we booked our tickets to travel to Taiwan for our first court date. Two weeks from today I will be holding my little Silas. This will be the first of two trips. If you would like an update on the process, yesterday's blog post lays out the remainder of the process.
Last night I was completely surprised at youth group! Myself and the other female youth leaders had planned on having a movie night for all of the girls. However, I show up and they had secretly planned a surprise baby shower for me! I was so surprised and also felt so blessed to have such wonderful women and girls in Big Fish!! I got presents that I hadn't even thought of... including personalized Silas Toms and a big rubber ducky bath!
So this has gotten me thinking... what all do I need to buy for little Silas? He won't be a newborn by the time we get him... maybe around 8 months old. Steve and I will need to register, but where do we start?! So I am reaching out to my wonderful blogosphere and facebook friends... can you give me advice on things you think we will definitely need for an eight month old?

Thank you all!! I am so excited to have this blog to keep everyone informed of all our little baby happenings!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Best News EVER!

So I never thought I would be joyful that I have to go to court, but I am ecstatic!! This morning Steve and I received news that we have a court date set for March 15th in Taipei, Taiwan!! Two weeks from tomorrow, I will be holding my little boy in my arms!

Here is what our process looks like going forward:
On March 11th, we will head to Taiwan (a very long flight)! Due to the time change, we will not get into Taiwan until March 13th. Then we get to hold our baby boy for the first time! On March 14th we will meet with the social worker that has to write a report for court. On March 15th we will go to court. Then we will have to come back home without baby Silas. He must stay there while paperwork is completed, visas are obtained, etc. The time frame is unknown, but my friends had about 3 months between trip one and two. I am going to be an emotional wreck during this time!

We are so excited to meet our son and love on him!

In the meantime, we need continued help in raising our adoption funds. Our whole first trip is completely paid for, but our second trip is not. If you would like to make a donation, or buy some of my homemade sauce, please email me at We know God will provide the funds needed!

I guess I had also better start getting his nursery ready! We are doing a train theme (if you know Steve and I at all, you know we love trains). We have been very fortunate to have many items donated (a crib, a pack n play, a stroller, lots of clothing).

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers! We cannot wait for you all to meet Baby Silas!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Court Date Prayers

Hello everyone!
It has been a while since I have been able to update our blog because there has not been too much to update. So let me update everyone on where we are at in the process.
Taiwan has all of our paperwork, and we are currently waiting on a court date to be scheduled. Once we obtain our courtdate, we will make our first trip to Taiwan for court.
We have had the unfortunate pleasure of processing all of our paperwork in the midst of first the U.S. Christmas and New Years, and then the Chinese New Year. So these holidays have slowed down the process for us a bit, but we know that it is all in God's timing.
Thank you everyone for your continued prayers of our little Silas. His surgery went so well, and he is healing great. He is gaining weight and the orphanage said that you can tell a major difference in his general demeanor, and that he is smiling alot more.
Please pray that we receive a quick court date, and get to travel to meet our little boy soon!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Roe v Wade

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision... a day that forever changed American culture. My heart is heavy today as I think of all of the live's lost... of those children.

As I think of these children, I cannot help but think of my own Silas... half the world away from me in Taiwan. In a nation where the abortion rates outnumber the live birth rates, I am so grateful for Silas' birth mom and the decision she made to give him life.

Taiwan is a nation approximately the size of Maryland and Delaware combined. It is estimated that Taiwan has between 300,000 and 500,000 abortions each year. In comparison, there were only 166,000 live births in Taiwan in 2010.

The statistics break my heart, but also bless me in that our son has an amazing momma who chose to give him life!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What is Gotcha Day?

Today I would like to post a link to my work blog to explain something known as Gotcha Day in the adoption community. Looking forward to celebrating this with my little Silas.

Also, please continue to pray for Elijah and the Davis family.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Prayers Needed

So many people have been praying for our little Silas over the last several months, and we are so appreciative of that. His heart surgery has gone well, and he should be able to develop some healthy eating habits and start growing strong! I know so many of you continue to pray for him as we earnestly await the day we can travel to Taiwan and bring him home.

But today, I am going to ask you not to pray for my little boy... because there is another little boy that needs your prayers so much more than my little boy. His name is Elijah, and Steve and I attended Bible College with his parents, Chris and Becky. I can't even begin to express or adequately describe his situation... so here is the link to Becky's blog:

Please take time today to pray for little Elijah and his beautiful family. We serve a very mighty God!

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
 --2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, January 4, 2013

It's about time Maria

I know it has been forever since I have blogged. During the holidays things just get away from me. But it's a new year, and new opportunities everyday!

Let me begin with the best news that Steve and I have received a referral of a little boy that we are going to be naming Silas! He is the most adorable little guy ever. I am choosing not to share any pictures of him on here at this time. Since he is not yet officially ours I would like to protect his privacy... but believe me, he's cute! He is only a couple of months old, and we have already sent him a package of items, including his first University of Kentucky baby beanie.

Since we got the phone call that we had a little boy, things have been a whirlwind! Along with the holidays, we have been working on paperwork. We received all of our paperwork from Taiwan on the 20th of December, and were leaving for Seattle on the 22nd. So we couldn't do anything until we got home. So on New Years Eve, I made the long and very snowy trip up to Chicago by myself. It was a long day. I walked about 3-4 miles in Chicago 30 degree weather. First I went to the Secretary of State to have everything apostilled (a notary of a notary). One of the documents was not done correctly so I had to walk to the nearest notary to have it renotarized. Then I walked back to the Secretary of State, and had everything apostilled. Then I walked to the Taiwanese Economic and Cultural Offices (TECO)... which is on the 57th floor. I hate heights... scariest elevator ride EVER! But they needed copies of all of the documents for their file. So I went downstairs to Kinkos, which was of course closed because it was New Years Eve. So then I walked quite a ways to the nearest Fedex... which was open! Then walked back to TECO, and handed in all of my paperwork. Then ran to my car so that I would make it back in under 3 hours and not have to pay extra parking fees. Then drove three hours home and went to our youth group all-nighter. Fun day (note the sarcasm).

So now we are waiting for the documents to be mailed to us from TECO, then we will turn around and mail them to the orphanage in Taiwan. Once they receive them they will be able to file for a court date for us. We hope for a court date in February and that will be our first trip.

Anyway, wanted to give you all an update! I hope you have a terrific weekend!