Thursday, February 28, 2013

Giving Up

I decided that the package is "lost".  

The care package I sent back in early January... who knows where it is.  I don't know if her care package ever reached her or if it ever got to China.   But I do know that the tracking won't ever change from "left Indianapolis".  So I won't find out until I get my girl if our care package ever got to her.  

It's hard not knowing, but I'm doing my best to let it go, as there's nothing I can do about it.  

Maybe it will a cool surprise knowing she has our book and is attached to one of the toys.  Or maybe I just won't care she never got it once she's in my arms.

I definitely know the 18 month hooded onesie is WAY TOO BIG for her, since we got her updated measurements on Monday.  But I hope wherever the package ended up that there is some child enjoying the carefully thought out gifts.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Visas arrived!!

It's snowing huge flakes outside today.  And when I came home to check the soggy mail, inside was one of those "missed you" orange cards.  I knew it was for our visas.  Stopped by the post office before they closed and got our package.  And yup, inside our passports with the stickered visa inside for China!  Yay!!  So we're all good on that end.  Now it's still just waiting for the Article 5 which should be picked up on March 7th.  Just over a week!  

Getting closer!
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

There's Always Hope

When we got our i-800 approval we had to send our passports away to get our visas!

Our passports have to go to the Consulate to have our visas issued.  And you can't just mail them, they must be hand delivered.  The nearest consulate is Chicago.  So it's easier to go through courier, and one that understands adoption (as getting an adoption visit visa is different than other types of visits).

So we were given a few trusted couriers to use by our agency.  I called a couple.  I was trying to compare pricing.  One courier was very curt and just said use the website and named their pricing, but didn't want to help further.  I didn't like being blown off... especially when I left a message and waited forever for them to call back.

The courier I went with, 'There's Always Hope', got on the phone immediately and answered all my questions and was very helpful, even had a step-by-step form (the visa required forms) for me to follow for filling out information via adoption route.

I mailed off our passports and got an email about 2 weeks ago saying they were dropped off and will be picked up on 2/25.

Low and behold, yesterday I got an email, "Your Passports with Visas were picked up from the Consulate today and placed with USPS - Express Mail."

Yay!  We should get them any day!  Another step down (though not listed "officially" in the adoption process, just something else you do on the side.)

On another note, I'm down with the cold/flu.  I'm feverish and body aches and feeling awful.  My cold from the weekend came back with full force late last night and kicked my butt!

I'm working from home.  I feel so badly about it, knowing I'll be in China in just over a month.  But I'm also still on cloud 9 from the updates of my little Shi Qing!  I'm miserable and happy all in one!  I'm just so glad I'm not with her now to get her sick.  Funny!
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Got an Update, Got an Update

If you can't tell I'm over the moon excited.... we got an update today on Dang Shi Qing!!!  We got new measurements and 3 photos as of February 22nd.

Of course, as before, I'll share 1 photo per week!

Here is her newest photo!!  My baby on 2/22!!!
So getting her teething rings!
Look at her little feet!!

Dang Shi Qing's update:

Medical/Development:
Her current health is good. :)
She can walk and can try to climb up something. (As long as it isn't out of the crib!!)
She likes music. (But does she dance?)
She can say mama. (Good girl!!)
She is not potty trained. (Didn't expect it)

Personality:
They call her Xiao Neng Dou Er (小能豆儿).  (Okay, here are the running tallies of what I'm told this is: It basically means something to the effect of smart little one - capable person, smart.; little capable bean; little smart baby; small can soybean; tiny smart sprout.)
She is docile. (Easy going works.)

General:
If they can find any earlier pictures of her, they will email them to us.
Her sleeping and diet schedule:                 
Sleeping time: 9:00pm-7:00am
Nap time: 12:00-2:00pm
Eating time: 8:00am, 11:20am, 5:00pm
She eats mashes fruits, formula.
She is in the orphanage.

Measurements:

Age: 16 months
Weight: 5.96 kg / 13.14 lbs
Head: 40 cm / 15.75 in
Chest: 40 cm / 15.75 in
Height: 68 cm / 26.77 in
Shoe size: 10 cm / 3.94 in
Teeth: 8
Status: Healthy

She really is tiny!!!  Drusilla and Kiara weigh more than her!!!  My little baby!

I can't wait to have my little Thumper... soy bean...sprout...HER in my arms!!!
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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sweet 16

Today my little girl is sweet 16!  Yes, 16 months!!  These monthly birthdays are hard.  I want her to grow, but it's hard when it's without you.

The good new is I should only have 1 more monthly birthday milestone without her.  then I'll be on cloud 9 from here on out!  By her 18th month milestone I hope to have her glued in my arms!

But I still have to wait.  I'm expecting to have the Article 5 pick up on March 7th.  Then it should be roughly a 3 week wait for Travel Approval.  Then we will probably go in 10-21 days after that!  So April looks like an amazing time for us... so close, but so far!!

So what am I doing to celebrate my girl today?  I'm in bed fighting the cold/flu.  Last night I started with that tickle in the throat.  So I'm in bed making sure it runs away so I can get started on finishing getting her room done, the house purged of stuff, and work on that pinafore that I got material for.  But right now is just rest and sleep.  Which I'm happy to do.  I've also been reading off and on.  Just staying warm in bed.  But I had to post my daughter's monthly birthday.  It may not be as important once she's home, but right now, they are huge milestones for me.  

Other then that there's not much to say.  I just need to get better.  But believe me, i'm so glad to be sick now rather than right before or during our trip to China!

Happy Sweet Sixteen my angel!!  
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

NVC Approval Letter


Yes!!  I got the pdf of our approval letter from the National Visa Center (NVC)!

It was more than a boring and basic letter, but still beautiful as it means we've taken the next step!!

The NVC received my approval form i-800 petition.  They have forwarded (aka cabled) it to the visa-issuing post where the adoption interview will take place in China!

Next step: Article 5.  The Article 5 is a preliminary approval of my immigration file by the US Consulate and is required by the CCCWA (China) in order to issue the travel approval.

The US Consulate will take about 2 weeks to 4 weeks to issue an Article 5.  I will get an email from my agency to let me know when the Article 5 is picked up.

Let's see if I start getting antsy by end of week 2!!
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Waiting for that NVC Letter

Hopefully, my next post will be that I got our NVC letter!  I've been following up with everyone and their mothers... well, no not really, but it feels like it.  

I emailed my agency just following up about my daughter's update.  I know they said IF it happen it could take 2 months, and it's shy of a month now.  But I want to know do they follow up?  Can they at least see if my care package made it?  So, I emailed them.

Then I emailed the NVC.  Yes, today is president's day and they are closed.  But as I'm sure they answer emails in the order they get them, I thought it couldn't hurt to send today for tomorrow's email,so I could get a quicker response.  I can get a pdf of the NVC letter and speed things along.  So, I'm hoping it is ready and emailed to me tomorrow.  I was told the NVC happens 5-7 days after i-800 provisional approval.  I'm assuming business days.  Tomorrow would be 5... or less, because of the holiday, but you never know.

I emailed the makers of some stuff for Ashton's room.  Her room isn't complete without these touches.  It's been 2 months, and I'd like them here by now.  So those should arrive soon... I hope.

I really can't believe our lives will turn upside down in less than 2 months.  It's easy to forget that there really is my daughter at the end of all of this.  There are times I can't wait, and others I'm terrified.  It's a crazy wave of emotions, but mainly it's just trying to weave through all the paperwork and payments and be sure everything is done exactly right and on time.  I don't want her to wait for us 1 more extra day than she has to.  

I have lots to do at home to get it all perfected by the time she gets here, but I promised myself I'd make her a pinafore.  I really, want to!!  I know nothing about sewing and told myself that I'd buy myself a sewing machine (a embroidery one at that) once we got LID.  Well, I finally got one, and got all the pieces for the machine; so it's complete.  I even bought an instruction book to I know how to thread it and use it.  

I just bought a pinafore pattern yesterday and some material.  Hopefully, I will start on this project and have a dress I made for her when we get to China.  

My mother has made my girl several outfits and a sweater... (even my husband's mom made a beautiful sweater and hat for her before she passed) but as I don't crochet, I'm just going to try and learn to sew.  I'd really like her to wear something from me.

(Yes, I still have that rug to make her too... but that is so slow and tedious!  I may get back to that.  I was hoping I'd be able to document the days and show my progression.  I'm still cutting strips.  I am still on one of the two sheets to cut!  You'd think it'd be easy.  I'd like to forget all about it; however, my husband has been laying the guilt trip on that pretty thick, much to my chagrin.  So I may pick it back up and get it done... we'll see.)

So lots to do and lots to check in on.  Enough to keep me busy.  Let's hope I can check off all the items!
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Just in Time for Valentine's Day

Yesterday we mailed off our passports to get our visas!  Wow! Huge step!

Also yesterday, we put in our application/registration for our daughter's daycare!

I wish I could say all of this made our daughter feel real  or that I feel excited.  But truth is I'm just tired and anxious about each step.  I'm sure the real excitement comes right at TA, and before you're just in "get 'er done" mode.

But trust me, I am excited about each step and getting closer.  But it's hard to focus on the excitement when each step brings more paperwork and more running around to get things done.  To stay focused, I worry and double check all the steps and try and stay ahead of the game as best as possible.

What's funny is all this makes me so tired.  I sleep, but it must be light sleeping, because  I feel so exhausted when I wake up.  But if being tired is the price I pay for staying on top of things and not slipping up, so be it!  I just can't sleep enough!

What's funny, Mr. "I can sleep peacefully the moment my head hits the pillow" didn't sleep well last night and woke up several times.  I think the reality of everything is beginning to dawn on my husband.  I'm sad he didn't sleep, but excited that my practical and logical husband is showing signs of excitement.

Anyhow, yesterday when I got home I found a package from my Secret Pal!  I rushed to open it!  Inside was an adorable Panda couple shirt and KaiLan book!  It's my first KaiLan anything!  So I'm very excited to finally get something with her on it!  And the valentine's panda couple is too cute for words!  


The note included says, "The day after I sent your last goodie box, I saw this shirt and had to get one for Ashton!  It will probably be like a dress for her a while, but this was the smallest size. :) I hope this is the last Valentine's Day you will spend apart from her!  YSP"

I know there are wonderful Secret Pals out there, but I swear, I feel like I have the most thoughtful one!  Everything is so well thought out and touching!  I love it!  Who ever you are, you have helped me though this journey and brightened, heightened, and lifted me though many days.  Thank you.  Your the best!
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Adoption Agencies Closing

My heart breaks.  After hearing about Russia closing international adoptions with the US and seeing how Korea and China adoptions (and possibly others I don't know about) are getting harder and longer/slower, it seems like international adoption is getting harder and fewer.  It breaks my heart, because I know that it's not because there are less children that need homes!  

I feel very fortunate that I am matched with my daughter and that I will be getting her soon.  But when I see all that is going around me, I wonder when China too may close its doors.  And what of the agencies here?  I remember agency shopping, and one that I was looking into which relied heavily on Russian adoptions.  I wonder if many more agencies will be closing doors.

So it was very disappointing to see this article in U.S. News.


2 US adoption agencies closing, citing woes abroad

February 11, 2013

By DAVID CRARY, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The lone U.S. adoption agency accredited in Kyrgyzstan is shutting down due to financial troubles, a sudden new setback for about 15 American families battling since 2008 to complete adoptions there. At the same time, another U.S. agency, which specializes in adoptions from Russia, also is closing.

"We see no other choice but to close our doors," said Christian World Adoption, which had handled Kyrgyz adoptions, in an e-mail to the waiting families. The agency, based in Fletcher, N.C., said an array of factors, in Kyrgyzstan and elsewhere abroad, had boosted its costs and cut its income to the point where it would file for bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Adoption ARK, based in Buffalo Grove, Ill., said it would shut down, blaming Russia's recently imposed ban on adoptions by Americans. It said its program in Russia had provided more than half of its income.

The two closures highlight the challenges facing many U.S. agencies that specialize in international adoptions at a time when those are dwindling year after year. Americans adopted 8,668 foreign children in the 2012 fiscal year, down 62 percent from the peak of 22,884 in 2004.

Chuck Johnson, CEO of the National Council for Adoption, said he expected that many more agencies would be closing. Those with the best chance of persevering, he said, would be agencies with professional fundraising operations that have lessened their reliance on client fees.

For the families trying to adopt from Kyrgyzstan, most of whom have spent many thousands of dollars on their quests, the sudden shutdown of Christian World Adoption came as a shock. The families said they had received no prior warnings before getting an e-mail from the agency on Friday announcing that it was ending operations "effective immediately."

There was no immediate response Monday to e-mails and phone messages sent to agency officials seeking further comment.

A Christian World Adoption client, Shannon Fenske of Reeseville, Wis., said she and her husband, Kevin, were dismayed by this latest of many setbacks in their quest to adopt a Kyrgyz girl they were matched with in 2008.

"They did not reach out to us beforehand to allow us time to try and make any sort of arrangements," Fenske said of CWA. "They just dumped it on us on Friday afternoon and ran. We have no idea what the future holds or what our options are at this time."

However, Fenske said she and her husband would not give up their efforts to adopt Kamila, who was afflicted with a severe cleft lip and palate when they were matched with her in July 2008. The Fenskes, who have four other adopted children with special needs, arranged for two operations for Kamila that improved her condition, but pain and speech problems linger.

"We are fighters," Fenske said of how the waiting families would deal with the new setback. "This does not change the fact that our children continue to languish in institutions and that we continue to love them as much as we did yesterday."

Due mostly to corruption-related problems, Kyrgyzstan suspended foreign adoptions in 2008 and again last year after a brief resumption.

Christian World Adoption, founded in 1991, said the expense of trying to cope with these disruptions was among many factors that had depleted its financial resources. It also cited the Russian adoption ban, a continued U.S. freeze on adoptions from Cambodia, and longer time frames for adopting from China and Ethiopia, the two leading countries of origin for children adopted by Americans.

The U.S. State Department, which oversees some aspects of international adoptions by Americans, said it was working to get more information about the situation in Kyrgyzstan.

The State Department also has been active in Russia, trying to help U.S. families affected by the adoption ban. The ban was enacted in December as part of a package of measures retaliating against a new U.S. law allowing sanctions on Russians identified as human-rights violators.

Americans have adopted thousands of Russian children over the past two decades, and the ban is already having an impact on agencies heavily involved in adoptions from there.

Last week, Adoption ARK posted a notice on its Web site, citing the ban and the ensuing loss of revenue as the reasons for its sudden closure.

"The passage of law by both the U.S. and Russia is heartbreaking for the families who were in the process of adopting from Russia and, especially, the children who will remain in orphanages across the country, unable to grow up in the loving arms of a family," the agency said.

Adoption ARK, according to its Web site, was founded in 2003 and had helped place nearly 1,000 children with adoptive families.

Both Adoption ARK and Christian World Adoption were registered as nonprofit organizations.

While the closure of adoption agencies can be jarring — emotionally and financially — for their active clients, there remain enough agencies to the meet the overall demand, according to Kathleen Strottman, executive director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

"I do not anticipate that there will ever be a day when a family is looking to hire an agency and cannot find one," she said.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I-800 Provisional Approval!!


1 week ago (February 5th) I got a letter saying that my I-800 paperwork was in the lockbox as of January 31st!  I was happy it was ready, but the letter had our address wrong!  We were lucky we even got the letter to us!  I was panicked.  Would this delay us?  I knew that the I800 would be in the lockbox for roughly 10-14 days.  Therefore, could I even talk to them now or do I wait 10-14 days too?  I was worried.

I called my agency and asked what to do.  They said there was no problem to contact the USCIS and mention the flub.

I emailed them and waited.  

The very next morning, I got an email back from our assigned officer saying, "I won’t actually have your paperwork for about another week.  (It takes 10-14 days from the date on your receipt for your file to reach me).  I was able to look it up electronically.  It looks like the application actually has the address as wrong.  I made an electronic note that it should be corrected."

I was relived.  It sounded like it wouldn't be delayed.  Whew!!

Fast forward one week to today, I wonder where I am in the process.  Have they seen my forms, are they out of the lockbox yet?  I email my officer.

A little over an hour later I get a response, "Yes, I actually just got this application today.  It has been provisionally approved.  Your notice will come via regular mail.  Congratulations!"

Yay!!  SO once I have a copy of it in the mail I can send it to my agency and work on our next step, the National Visa Center (NVC) letter!  Our I-800 is going to the American Consulate in Guangzhou, China!

We have our passports, but we now have to get our visas!  There is much that will start happening I'm assuming by the end of this week!

We're coming as fast as we can baby girl!!

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Picture Revealed

After what seems forever, I finally got my girl's finding ad!  And if you'll notice, it's the same impressionistic photo
I am glad that I have the real photo to the impression photo!  What more I've learned is that my girl was found at Pinhu region in the Development District.  That means nothing to me, but it's a start.

It's amazing how every tidbits is gold to us to learn more about our daughter!
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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Birthday my little Amadeus!!


Happy Birthday my little man!!  You've enriched our lives so much!  You'll always be my baby boy!  It's hard to believe you're growing up so fast.  It still feels like yesterday that you came into our lives as a itty bitty lil' puppy!
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Year of the Snake

Happy Chinese New Year!!  恭禧發財
Gong Xi Fa Cai! (The traditional Chinese New Year greeting that translates, "Wishing you prosperity!")


Since Chinese holidays are based on the Chinese lunisolar (combination of solar and lunar calendars) calendar, today is their new year.  The Chinese New Year always falls in the months of January or February.  Each year is represented by one of the twelve Chinese Zodiac animals.  This year 2013 is Year of the Snake, which begins today (during a new moon) and ends on January 30, 2014.  (Yesterday was Year of the Dragon.  For more about the Chinese Zodiac, go here.)  Chinese New Year festivities officially last for 15 days (a full moon).  It's the most important of the Chinese holidays.  It puts our Mardi Gras to shame!

Before the arrival of the new year, homes are thoroughly cleaned to sweep away ill fortune, and to welcome good luck. On new year’s eve, there are family gatherings to celebrate and enjoy sumptuous traditional feasts, and to greet the new year with fireworks at midnight.


In the days that follow, festive dance parades are held featuring colorful dragons or lions, ceremonies are held to pay homage to deities and ancestors, children receive money in red envelopes, gifts are exchanged, extended family members visit each other, and there’s more traditional feasting.

The celebration culminates on the 15th day with the Lantern festival; on this night of the full moon, families mingle in the streets carrying lighted lanterns, often creating a beautiful light display.


This is the year of the water snake.  According to Chinese astrology, people born on the year of the Snake are said to be keen and determined. They’re said to know how to maneuver themselves toward their own destinies and destinations. They are said to be sophisticated and calm and not outwardly emotional, but they might have a touch of paranoia at times. 

There are several variations on the mythology behind Chinese New Year celebrations. Most are based on a ugly bloodthirsty monster named Nian that would emerge on the last night of each year to destroy villages and eat people. A wise elder advised villagers to scare the monster away with loud noises. That night, they set fire to bamboo, lit fireworks, and banged their drums. The monster, afraid of the loud noises and lights, ran away to hide in its cave. In another version of the myth, an old man persuaded Nian to turn its wrath on other monsters, not the villagers. Before he was seen riding away on Nian, the old man, actually a god, advised the people to hang red paper decorations in their homes and set off firecrackers on the last night of the year to keep Nian away. On the first day of the new year, the villagers celebrated, greeting each other with the words “Guo Nian” which means “survive the Nian”, a tradition that has continued to this day to mean “celebrate the new year.”
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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Magnet

Today my husband and I went to our township's Magnet Fair.  

What is a Magnet Fair?  It was a fair about our township's magnet schools.

What is a Magnet School?  In most Indiana public school systems, students attend the school nearest their home or the one to which they are assigned.  Magnet schools offer a unique area of focus and give opportunity for family choice.  Each magnet school's area of focus enhances the core curriculum.  

Our township created a system that allows families to attend their assigned neighborhood magnet school or apply to attend to another magnet school with a different area of focus.  There are 6 focuses: Communications, Environmental Studies, Performing Arts, International Studies, STEM, and Spanish Immersion.

Communications: students participate in multimedia as well as multimodal experiences in learning.
Environmental Studies: students develop scientific thinking processes from observations to independent investigation that will guide them to become ecologically responsible, contributing citizens.
Performing Arts: students are taught how to communicate their knowledge through artistic expression.
International Studies: students become critical thinkers and develop learning through a curriculum that emphasized ans inquiry based learning philosophy  literacy  foreign language, and technology.
STEM: students embrace an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Spanish Immersion: language immersion to develop a second language.

We walked in and saw Communications first.  Our "default assigned" school would be one of these.  We saw the students on TV as pirates doing some news, and writing.  It looked cute.. but the pig at the Environment Studies caught my attention.  My husband loved that one, they had a snake and homemade fish aquarium and had wonderful eco-friendly projects.  I just liked the pig.  He goes to the school too!  Then we passed the Spanish Immersion and they were dancing.  We then came to robots!  It was the STEM group.  They had leggos galore!!  My husband wanted the robot!  Then we came to the International Studies and learned that they did a month of Mandarin!  They even did the calligraphy!  I was so excited to hear that!  They are studying the Chinese New Year too!  In January, 16 students from China visited in order to experience school life for a week.  So I'm excited that there elements of her birth country that she can learn about!  We then saw the Performing Arts section, they had instruments everywhere!  We loved different points of it, but are hoping we can get our girl with the International Studies school when she starts first grade. 

Yes, this is way in the future, but we didn't know until today that we had magnet schools and what it means.  I'm so excited for her educational future.  With all the waiting, having this new knowledge refreshed our excitement!  I'm hoping by the time she can enroll there will be more China touch points at school or maybe a Chinese Immersion School!!  Who knows!
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tick-Tock

You know when you're waiting for something and you actually feel every moment of time between every tick and tock and it feels like an eternity?  It's like you hear the gears of time and every movement before the hands move or strike.  It's agonizing.

During most of this waiting process, I've been very happy with the peace I've felt and for the most part not being impatient.  Yes, I'd have my moments... like when I was told 14 months... I wasn't ready to wait longer than I thought.  I also knew once I'd see my daughter's face the wait would be so much different.

It's hard to know your child is growing up without you and you don't know much about them and you wonder about their daily life.

But add a whole much of waitings, then it's really hard.

Things I'm waiting for:

  1. Delivery of her care package. It's been 23 days!  I'm anxious for it to arrive and worried if it's lost and will never arrive.
  2. Scan of my girl's finding ad. I wasn't able to find it on my own, but someone else has it.  I've been waiting almost we've been matched with her for them to contact me to say they'll send it to me.  They did last week... but now it's been a week of waiting for them to get it to me!
  3. An update of our girl.  Once we hit LOA, our adoption agency asks her SWI for an update.  The update can just be a few lines that the SWI answer about my girl from questions asked from my agency or it can included photos, as well.  I then come to find out that more than likely the update can take 2 months to maybe never!  I really hope hers comes much sooner than never and even much sooner than 2 months.  This information is all we have until we get her.  These tidbits are our lifelines for us.  I am very anxious for an update.
  4. Back in December I ordered a couple of things for her room.  One was of a painting of a girl on a swing.  I got that.  But there are 2 other things I ordered, and I don't have.  I've waited for about a month and a half on those 2 items and am anxious for them to arrive to help complete her room!
  5. Let's not forget the next step in the process.  Her I-800 approval!  I'm so glad we no longer are waiting for her LOA, but each step closer it gets harder and harder to wait.  I sent the I-800 papers to my agency on 1/25.  They arrived on 1/28.  They mailed them to the National Benefits Center in Texas who re-typed the info in their system and then mailed it to their Memphis branch.  It got in their lockbox on 1/31.  It usually sits there for 2 weeks.  Then after it can be process and approved after that at any time.  (usually within 1-2 weeks.)  So I'm looking for approval anytime after Valentine's Day.  (Unless they get it out of the lockbox sooner for any reason, which I'm in full support of.)  Of course there are many steps after that, but this is what I've been waiting on since I mailed the I-800 paperwork out on the 25th... so it feels like I've been waiting for 2 weeks already!
Add all that on top of just planning to get to China and still financially get creative to raise/save on funds, there's a lot to be anxious about and a lot of waiting.  It's very hard to wonder why I have to wait for so much.  You'd think that the other waits would come through faster so that the other waits don't seem to take as long.  But when you wait constantly for all of them... it gets very wearying on your nerves.  

Yes, there is plenty of things to keep me busy in preparation of Ashton's arrival.  But you still want something to help get you excited, something that shows progression.  Like water for a runner, something to help the marathon continue.

I'm sure there is a lesson in all of this.  I'm sure everything in planned in God's perfect timing.  I'm also sure that in April (late April I'm assuming) when my girl is FINALLY in my arms, none of this will matter in the slightest.  But it matters now.  And it's hard now.

I know I've been so blessed with having my daughter matched to me and having a speedy LOA.  I am very grateful!  

But I do think that having to run and rush paperwork and stop and rush for the next step and wait again, along with other things to wait for is a form of torture!

I ask for peace and to be in the now.  To fully enjoy my last days alone with just my husband and me and our sweet furbabies.  (And I do, but I yo-you back and forth so much from enjoying moments that will be precious and few in the future, to task listing about cleaning the garage, getting the yard in order, cleaning out the basement, child-proofing the house and so forth, and just wish she was here now in my arms so I can know her.)

I won't ask for one of the 5 waitings to arrive soon.  I don't want to pray in vain if it's not in God's plan.  But it's hard... so, so hard.
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Where Has the Care Package Gone?!?

It's been forever since I mailed Ashton's care package on January 15th! However, it hasn't arrived in China.  Or if it did, it's confiscated   The last info I have is dated the 16th of January saying it left Indianapolis.  I'm heartbroken.  There's nothing I can do.  It's either lost or taking FOREVER to get to China.  I thought it'd only take 2-3 weeks.  It was 3 weeks yesterday.  I'm hoping it gets there before Chinese New Year else I'm afraid it really would get lost with China "shutting down" for like a week!  I know it's out of my control, but I so wanted our baby girl to know her Mama and Baba!!  I don't know when I should give up hope.  I check every night when I get home and see it hasn't gone anywhere!  
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog Predicts an Early Spring


Today is Groundhog Day!  A day that I think does the cute celebration of seeing if spring is coming early this year.  And guess what, according to Punxsutawney Phil, it is!  I hope it also means that we're getting Ashton early this year and that all the paperwork will fly by!
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Friday, February 1, 2013

A Month Closer

Yes, today isn't much different than yesterday.  But it's now officially February, and we are technically a month closer to our little girl!

I wish I could say we're a step closer too, but we're still waiting for I-800 approval.

I've been tracking the care package, we sent our girl on the 15th.  The last update is from the 16th that says it left Indianapolis.  It's very discouraging to not see it arrive in China or it's destination.  I hope it's not lost.  I hope she'll get it before the Chinese New Year.  But if she doesn't get it, it's not the end of the world.  But I really wish she'd have the board book... to see our faces... to have someone tell her she's loved and her family is coming.  Somehow on some level I think she'd know or be better prepared.

My husband and I are scrambling to get the house done before we go.  We have a lots of projects list.  And what's funny is our priorities don't match.  What he wants done or is a high priority isn't mine and vice versa.  

So the best thing we can do is compromise on help each other with the tasks and hoping we can cross them all off the list as best as possible.  But if this is what we're focused on the details, or the things that are huge priorities on both our lists, that's a good thing!  It means we're more along and ready.  So this is good!  

But I will say, I'm anxious.  I'm excited and nervous about all the change to come.  I'm also anxious about staying on top of the paperwork.  We are, we have... but that doesn't mean I don't stop "worrying".  I hate that.  I wish I could just enjoy the ride, but it's hard not to worry about preparing for the next step, is all this copied, is all this ready, do we have this, saved up for that, it is a lot to juggle.

At least February is a short month, though all my life I've said it's the longest month of the year.  It's always the harshest part of the year with weather.  It's just a blah of a month typically.  I'm hoping with all our checklists that it will fly by like January did.

Hopefully this month we'll get an update on our girl.  I'd love to see how she's doing, how she's grown, and possibly with our care package.  There is so much to look forward to... if it comes to fruition.  I hope to get pics of her and an update, I hope she gets pics of us and our care package, I hope the next few steps fly by this month as we get closer to our girl, and I hope we get more done with the house ahead of schedule.  We're in nesting overdrive I'll tell ya!
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