Archive for July, 2010

A Year Ago Today…

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

…We made the craziest decision of our lives!  On July 20, 2009 we sealed our faith, prayers, and hopes in a little envelope, and sent it off in the form of an adoption application.  It’s been a long road from that application to where we are now.  Long–not in the sense of time, so much as in the sense of how far we’ve come.

Last summer I struggled.  True, I had always thought I would have another daughter, but I never thought we would take this path.  (I guess I can’t say “never,” but the thought had entered and left my mind over a decade ago.)  I’m certainly not amazing enough to adopt.  Only Mary-Poppins-perfect people adopt.  It took many weeks for us to know that this really was the plan for our family.  Even after sending in that application, I felt some ambivalence.  With each step in the adoption–each time we signed a paper, wrote a big check–I felt like I had a chance to question our decision all over again, and then decide to recommit (or not).  With a pregnancy you don’t really get a chance to do that.  You make the decision (usually :)) and BAM!  You’re committed.  There’s really no turning back once you see that little pink line on a stick. :)

I am delighted to report that I feel absolutely certain now–no doubt that we’re making the right decision for our family and for our new daughter.  No doubt this was meant to be.  And no doubt it will be one the most challenging things we have ever done.  I started this journey with a little “toe dip.”  You know, to test the waters.  After splashing around a bit, deciding the waters felt pretty good,  we dove in and started to swim.  And now we’re in a dead sprint for the finish.   No looking back–no reason to.  Look how far we’ve come!

I can hardly wait to bring our daughter home!  We have loved her from afar, and now I want to love her up close. :)  I want to know everything about her–even the things that will be hard for a mother to hear.  I want to take care of her and love her like she’s never been loved before.  Laugh with her and cry with her.  Teach her everything she needs to know to be happy in life.  I want to see her playing and learning and loving and growing with her family.  I want to show her how much she is loved and wanted and needed.  I want to show her that we are her family–now and forever.

Care Package #7

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Wow. 7 packages.  And (hoping, hoping hoping) only 1 to go.  I will send one more care package at the end of July/beginning of August. And then, if our prayers are answered how we’re hoping, we will meet our daughter at the end of August, about the time I would have been sending another package . :)  (And if we don’t travel in August…uhh…I’m not thinking about that.)

I almost forgot to post about this package.  I sent it off last Tuesday.  So here it is, package #7:

Care Package Contents

  • letter to Jiao Jiao
  • letter to the orphanage director
  • lots of fun family pictures
  • headbands
  • stickers (with markers) to color and share
  • Teddy Grahams
  • disposable camera
  • AND a letter and pictures for her little friend, Nicholas (Min Li)!
  • And now I digress a bit about her friend. We have seen Nicholas in multiple pictures with Jiao Jiao, the first time being at his birthday party. If you recall, one of my online adoption friends, Nancy, shared pictures of her son’s birthday and there was our daughter.  So it was really neat to be able to send pictures of Jiao Jiao’s birthday, with Nicholas sitting next to her.

    Nancy got her travel approval last week and will be traveling next week to China!  She wasn’t planning on sending another package since she’s traveling so soon, but since I was about to send one I offered to send something for her.  So she emailed a little letter and some pictures for Nicholas and I included them.  I’m so glad she let me do that!  Nancy told me that if she sees our daughter she’s going to give her a hug from us.  I told Jiao Jiao that Min Li’s (Nicholas) parents are coming soon, so she should be expecting to see them.  Exciting!!  We may get a first-hand report from Nancy in a couple weeks. :)

    And while I’m thinking of it, here is a quick update on the wait.  We still have just 2 steps to go, Article 5 and Travel Approval.  We are scheduled to receive A5 on the 22nd (9 days!) and TA should come 2-4 weeks after that.  The norm for TA seems to be about 3 weeks right now.  We really need it to come on or before August 16th.  August 16th is the very latest it could come and us still have a chance to leave on August 25th!  Yes, even if we get our TA in time, there is no guarantee we will be able to leave that quickly.  We will have to schedule our appointment with the Consulate in Guangzhou, and sometimes they’re all booked!  It’s nerve wracking, so I try not to think about all this too much. :)  Yeah right.  Who am I kidding.  It’s all I can think about!!!

    Check! Check! Check!

    Friday, July 2nd, 2010

    Only 5 little steps…As you know, we received our LOA on June 7th.  After LOA, there are 5 little steps to Travel Approval, well, 4 little steps and the 5th is TA.  I am so excited!!!  These little steps are happening so much faster than I thought they would.  Right now we have beat the average times, and we are looking at travel in AUGUST!!!  WOO HOO!!!  As I’ve said before, if we don’t get a miraculously quick TA and travel in August then we have to postpone until mid/late October.  Yuck!  The wonderful news is that so far it’s looking like we won’t have to do that.  Something miraculous is definitely happening here!  Here’s how our wait is going so far, along with average times:

    Date Us! Average Wait
    LOA 6/7/10 39 days 47-60 days
    I-800 PA 6/25/10 16 days 20 days
    Cable 7/1/10 6 days 4-7 days
    NVC Letter 7/2/10 1 day 4 days
    Article 5 7/22/10? 20 days
    TA 8/5-16/10? 25 days

    We are trying our best to HAUL TAIL through the paperwork.  Of course, when 75% of this time is spent waiting on government agencies–foreign and domestic–there’s only so much you can do.  And then you pray.  I am just so grateful that Someone is listening!  I am amazed, excited, giddy, and grateful.  If we really do travel in August, that is NEXT MONTH!  Next month is so close that I can almost reach out and touch it!