Archive for November, 2011

Paperwork Progress :)

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

I wanted to give everyone a quick look at where we’ve been, and where we’re going!  We have been working like crazy to finish all our paperwork.  We received unexpected and happy news on Sunday that our homestudy was finished!  Yea!!!  We began our “paperchase” on November 1st, when CCAI locked Min Yu’s file.  Here we are on November 30th and our homestudy is complete along with most of our dossier!  This may not sound like much, but it really is quite a lot of work.  We’ve written documents, requested documents, filled out paperwork, mailed forms, made doctor’s appointments, kept doctor’s appointments, taken pictures, copied paperwork, sent paperwork, and been visited by the social worker.  It’s been a BUSY month.

Here is the extremely simplified version of the process to bring Min Yu home:

  1. Submit a Letter of Intent and receive Pre-Approval from China.  Check!
  2. Submit our dossier to China, which includes:
    1. Bunch of documents.  Check!
    2. Bunch of pictures of us.  Check!
    3. A homestudy.  Check!  (Well, almost check.  Just waiting for our police clearances which will be here in 5 days.)
    4. USCIS approval.  NO check.  We can submit our application for this once the homestudy is complete, hopefully next week.  Then we will twiddle our thumbs for 2-3 months while we wait for Uncle Sam to send this one approval.
  3. Wait for Letter of Acceptance (LOA).  More thumb twiddling,  1-3 months worth for this approval from China.
  4. A little more paperwork, about 2 months total, then Travel Approval!
So, we have made some splendid progress!  The estimate to complete a homestudy is 2-4 months.  Our homestudy will be done in about 1 month and 1 week.  Woo hoo!!!  HUGE thanks to our awesome social worker!!!  The estimate for the entire dossier (including the homestudy) is 4-6 months.  Ours will take about a month and a half longer than it normally would since the U.S. government is running really slow with those approvals.  (It will be about 90 days, compared to 45-ish for our first adoption.)  And even with this 6 week delay, our entire dossier will still be complete in just about 4 months!
I’m feeling really good about things right now.  I just hope the process continues to go smoothly, or more accurately, that we’ll continue to quickly iron out the wrinkles that will inevitably come up.  After next week, I guess I’ll sit back and get real comfy for our 3-month wait for the I-800A .  Or…maybe I’ll make a phone call or two and see if we can’t move things along a bit.  You know, make sure they know that there is a real child who has been waiting for 11 years…  Surely they wouldn’t want to keep him from a family for an extra 2 months.  Couldn’t hurt to try, right? 🙂

He Knows!

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

As you know, we got our Pre-Approval from China.  Did I mention, that is when we have the okay to send care packages??  That means we get to share the news with him that he has been waiting to hear for so long–he will have a family.  After seeing so many babies and toddlers and little children going home to families, it’s HIS turn!

Because our PA came so quickly, I didn’t have time to wait to prepare a care package and tell him.  I just couldn’t wait that long!  So, I caved and sent an email (in my very best Chinese) to the orphanage.  Here is my very simple letter, with the translation:


My whole family is really excited because we received our PA today!  Pu Min Yu is our son!
(Sorry, my Chinese is not very good.  I’m telling you because Todd is in the U.S.)
Jill M. Giles

They emailed back the next morning.  They were all so happy to hear the news, and especially happy for Pu Min Yu, that he would finally have a family!  And the most exciting part of all, HE KNOWS!!!  The ayi shared the news with him when he got home from school.  She said he was really happy when she told him.  He said he misses us very much, and was very happy when he was with us.  (We were right!  He DID like us!)  And then came a heartbreaking question, “What time are they coming to pick me up?”  What time.  Oh, my sweet boy.  🙁  I hope he knows we want nothing more than to have him here with us already.  How do you explain that even though we’re only a train ride away, we will not be able to come for many, many months?  This kind ayi explained, “Your mother and father also miss you and want you very much, but they have a lot of ‘formalities’ to go through, and as soon as they finish, they will come as quickly as they can to bring you home.”  I hope he undertands we are just as anxious as he is to have him home!  The ayi also told him he needed to stay in school, and he said he will.  Then she gave him a picture to keep, one of all of us together from our last visit, and he was “very happy.”

I am so grateful to know that he knows!  And especially that he is excited and happy, and even anxiously waiting to be a part of our family.  The feeling is definitely mutual.  We will begin sending care packages soon to begin sharing our family with him.  So exciting!!

Start Spreadin’ the News!

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Happy boy at summer camp, 2010

Well, our wait for Pre-Approval is officially over!!!  Our agency sent our letter to China on Friday the 4th, and we expected to wait about 2 weeks for their response.  I had all these great plans to put together our first care package so we could send it the moment we received the OK from China.  What I didn’t expect was to find the Pre-Approval email in my inbox Tuesday morning!  And crazy thing is, China received our letter on Friday and sent their reply on Monday the 7th!  Only three teeny tiny days, and two of them were a weekend!  WOW!!!  I sure hope this speedy approval is a sign of speedy things to come. 🙂

This means, IT’S OFFICIAL!  We have a SON!!!  And now that we have PA, we can SHOUT our news to the world!  Say hello to pictures, public blog posts, and Facebook updates!  We’re spreadin’ the news! spillin’ the beans! letting the “boy” out of the bag! 🙂  WOO HOO!!!

File Locked!!!

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

[Written 11/6/2011, published 11/15/2011.]

The CCCWA (China’s government agency in charge of all adoptions) was scheduled to release children’s files to the shared list on Tuesday morning at 9:30.  I had been praying like crazy that this would work out, that we would be able to adopt Pu Min Yu.  Then I decided we needed to recruit a few more people to pray with us. 🙂  That’s when I decided we should tell the oldest 3 kids about our adoption plans, and specifically Pu Min Yu.  We needed their help.  I explained that it was not a sure thing yet, that our agency would need to find his file and get it locked for our family, but they were SO excited about the possibility.  So we all prayed.  A lot.

On Tuesday morning after our devotional (around 9:00am) I realized I had forgotten to pray that morning.  Doh!  So I asked for a show of kids’ hands on who had remembered to pray that morning.  Oops.  Not a one.  So, I suggested we take 10 minutes or so to retire to our rooms so we could each pray.  Then the “a-ha” moment came for the oldest 3 when they realized what was supposed to be happening in less than 30 minutes–China is releasing Pu Min Yu’s file!  All 5 kids scattered to their rooms more than willingly, and we all emerged to resume our homeschool day around 9:30. So, I was on pins and needles all morning, knowing that if our agency was able to find and lock Pu Min Yu’s file we would be hearing from them sometime during day.  I promised myself I wouldn’t check my email until lunch time.  It was a good plan…except that I got a phone call around 10:15, and when I hung up, my phone made that little “new email” sound.  So…I checked the email on my phone, and the subject read, “Pu Min Yu!”  AHHH!!!  It read:

Hi Jill & Todd,

We locked his file tonight! Yahoo!!! I’ve attached his whole file to this email.  We already have all your submission materials to complete the lock. So everything should be good to go 🙂

Referral picture from his adoption file

YAHOOOOOO!!!  We have Pu Min Yu’s file!!!  I read the email on my phone, then pulled Michael aside into his room and showed him.  He read it, then literally screamed (with excitement).  Ha ha!  Next, I pulled Kaylee Ann aside, and got a nearly identical reaction. 🙂  Then I gathered all 5 kids together to share the news.  Of course, the two little boys were so surprised!  They didn’t know we were even thinking of adopting again.  And when they heard it was Pu Min Yu they were just as excited as the other three.  We all LOVE him so much already!  I am so grateful our whole family had that one perfect day with him last month.  And no wonder it was perfect–it was our WHOLE family. 🙂  Consequently, we have no doubts and no worries about our new son.  That really is a priceless gift.

The next step is the Letter of Intent.  A Letter of Intent (LOI) is a one page document detailing your plans for this child, your “intentions.”  It’s a letter stating what you know about the child’s medical needs, what your plans are for medical care, plans for education, etc.  Usually the LOI is not written until you get the file, but I wrote ours a few weeks ago since we were given his Chinese file from the orphanage.  Our adoption agency sent the LOI to China on Friday, November 4th.  In about 2 weeks we should get a pre-approval letter from China (PA), stating that we can start the process to bring Pu Min Yu home!  And once we have that PA, we will be able to announce all of this to the world!  I am seriously about to go crazy!  It’s the most exciting news in the world and I can’t share it yet.  But soon! 🙂