Good news but...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

...we're not out of the woods yet. On Tuesday our immigration officer issued us provisional approval on our I-800, but it was NOT without some drama. Let me recap...

I spoke with our officer twice last week regarding our I-800 application. As of last Wednesday, we weren't even logged into the sytem. Without being logged in, she could not issue us approval. At that time, she was optimistic about us getting logged in any day, and depending on her work schedule, she would approve us quickly. Well, she had told me that she would be out of the office on Friday but that I should call her on Monday to check on the status of our application. She also told me to email her, which I did. So I was hesitant to call as well. But by the afternoon, I couldn't take it anymore.

I called immigration and was put through to our officer but had to leave a message. I was extremely frustrated by this because I at least wanted to know if we were logged in. I called back again, and a very nice officer who answered the phone informed me that our officer was unexpectly out of the office that day as well. She also told me to call back Tuesday afternoon if I hadn't heard from my officer, although she did expect her to return to work by then. I thought that offer was very kind and was quite grateful for it.

Tuesday morning rolls around, and I have lots of errands to run with Caleb. To top it off, my phone was unable to connect to my email. So needless to say, I was itching to get back home and hear from our officer. Around 1pm, I was finally able to access my email. At that point, I got a reply from our officer indicating that our I-864W was filled out incorrectly and would need to be redone before she could approve us. I was miffed because our agency was the one who filled it out!!! I tried getting a hold of our Ch*in@ coordinator to ask her how to fill the form out. But she was, unbeknownst to me, in Ch*in@!!! So a big thank you to Melissa (Iris' mommy- Iris is from the same orphanage as Madeline) for answering my questions! You rock!

The other HUGE problem we faced was the fact that Patrick was out of town on business for the day, and he was the one who needed to sign the form!!! I frantically texted him to find out when he was going to get back into town. He told me close to 5pm. So as long as our officer wasn't going to go home early, we'd be able to send it back to her that afternoon. Well, the guy driving the car that day (NOT Patrick) high tailed it home. By 4:10pm, we were able to scan it to our officer. About 20 minutes later, she indicated she would approve us before she left for the day!!!! I took her "Congratulations" to mean that she was really going to follow through with her word. ;)

So we managed to get our I-800 approved just 2 days before our I-800A expires. Now our officer will forward it on to the National Visa Center (NVC). Once we are logged in there, they will cable our approval over to the US Consulate in Guangzhou. The only problem is....I'm not so sure they are going to cable us because by the time they get a hold of our approval, our I-800A will have expired. :( :( :( I have a sinking feeling they are going to wait until our Supplement 3 is approved. And that won't be until we get fingerprinted. And we don't expect to have fingerprint appointments issued for another week or two. As soon as our fingerprint appointments are issued, we are walking in early with our notice in hand. We need to get approved ASAP so that our travel is not delayed by much. *sigh* It's possible this could hold us up (if it in fact does) for 1-3 weeks, I think. we wait....and hope that we soon get a letter from the NVC saying that they've cabled us. Please pray they do this without waiting for our I-800A approval/Supplement 3 to be approved. Otherwise I don't think we'll travel until the end of July. I really just want all this hoopla and drama to end. I would like to quietly make our way through the rest of this process and hop on a plane without a lot of nonsense. Pretty please...

A mix of emotions

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

These last few weeks have been super busy. Two weekends ago, Caleb was one of the flower boys for a friend of ours' wedding. We have gotten to know Lily because she was the au pair for some friends of ours, Lisa & Shail. In fact, the entire wedding party consisted of all 4 of their children, Caleb, and another little girl. They all looked totally adorable in their dresses and bow ties & cumberbunds. When I get around to uploading my photos, I will be SURE to put one here of Caleb. He was so handsome, oh my goodness!

I have been finishing up the painting left to be done in Madeline's room. At this point, I'm almost done- just need to paint the trim around the closet. Hooray. I don't mind painting. But there are just other things I'd rather be playing with my son or sewing. I was able to do some sewing this past weekend, so naturally that just made me giddy. I finished an adorable double layer twirl skirt. This skirt is so stinkin' cute with lots of girlie twirl power. Last week, I also picked up some more fabric from my fabric store and had Deb pick some up from hers. So I have lots more to sew before we travel to Ch*in@. In actuality, I think I have a lot more I want to sew than I think I will have time for. So I will just have to prioritize. *sigh*

On a paperwork note, our I-800A expires next week on Thursday, 4.29. We need to file a Supplement 3 to get this approval extended. We had our social worker come out at the end of March to do our visit to update our home study. I called yesterday to find out what was going on and was told it was approved but needed a signature. She will overnight it to us today, so we can send it on to immigration on Thursday. It has to be received by April 29th, or our expiration will expire, and we will have to start OVER. Not a happy prospect.

The other situation we are currently dealing with is waiting to get our I-800 provisional approval. Our agency overnighted it to immigration on April 6th. On Monday, we got a notice in the mail, stating that it was received on April 7th with a notice date of April 14th. Well, yesterday when I called our immigration officer to ask a question about our Supplement 3, she explained to me that our I-800 wasn't logged into their system yet. And if it's not logged in, she can't approve it. She said she HAS to approve it before our I-800A expires on April 29th, or she will have to wait for our Supplement 3 to be approved. If you're not familiar with the paperwork process, suffice it to say this would delay our travel big time! If our I-800 is not approved by our deadline, then we have to wait to receive our fingerprint appointment for our Supplement 3, which won't be until some time at the end of MAY! Only after our fingerprints have cleared, can our officer approve both our Supplement 3 and our I-800. So instead of heading to Ch*in@ at the end of June or early July, we'd be looking at travel in August.

Another big travel problem we face is that fact that Patrick has a colleague who is planning to travel out of the country twice this summer...once in early June and then again in July. And somehow we're supposed to squeeze an adoption trip to Ch*in@ in between them. It's really like asking for the impossible. If we can't go to Ch*in@ when we think we'll go, we will have to wait til his colleague is done with both his trips. And that would really stink. I was just sick to my stomach about all this yesterday. Haven't we waited long enough? I am so thankful to have a husband who is constantly reminding me that God is holding us in His hands right now. I do believe it. But this adoption journey has tested me in so many ways. I just don't know how much more I can handle. Only 9 more days (including today) to get our I-800 approved and move forward as planned.....otherwise..... *sigh*

Progressing with our paperwork

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Now that we have our LOA, we have many little steps to take with our paperwork before Ch*ina will issue us our TA and we can hop on a plane to bring Madeline home. Now that we have our LOA, we can begin this process to TA. First step is to have our I-800 approved by immigration. I spoke with our Ch*ina coordinator this morning, and she informed me that she will be overnighting our I-800 to immigration. I was so happy to hear this because it can take 2-4 weeks to get approved (and I mailed it to our agency last Thursday.) After we get our approval, our immigration officer will forward it to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will then cable our approval to the US Consulate in Guangzhou (where Caleb was born!) The US Consulate will process Madeline's immigration visa, which can take 2-3 weeks I believe. Once this is approved, they will issue us our Article 5. Our agency will then send our Article 5 to the CC@@ in Beijing, where our paperwork will wait for Travel Approval (TA), which will take about 4 weeks. From start to finish, we are looking at about 10 weeks until the CC@@ issues us our TA. As soon as TA is issued, we will figure out when we would like to travel. We will likely travel alone, so we have the privledge of picking our travel dates. Because Patrick has to stay here in the US for the middle 2 weeks of June, we can't travel until after that....even if we get our approval sooner. So we are expecting to travel at the end of June or early July.

At this point, I'll take any time in the summer. In fact, with this expectation, I bought Madeline her second swimsuit- a cute little bikini with ruffles! She does need a practical suit as well. So I will be purchasing a rash guard top with bottoms. But I couldn't resist this bikini.....because I'm just so stinkin' thrilled my daughter is going to be home for the summer!!!!!

Easter fun

Monday, April 5, 2010

We had a great little Easter celebration. It all started wtih an Egg Hunt held last Thursday where Patrick works. Caleb won an award for the "Happiest egg hunter." For this, he received the most adorable lamb. It's a pretty good size stuffed animal! This lamb has gone everywhere with us since it first landed in Caleb's arms. He gets buckled in the seat next to Caleb when we're in the car. And he sleeps with his own pillow and blanket at the foot of Caleb's bed. It's just too darn cute!

We went to church on Saturday evening because we had a lot of food preparation to do Sunday morning. We had our friends, the Duhaime's, over for lunch with their four children. The Easter Bunny dropped eggs in the back yard. So the kids had fun hunting for them. After eating a fabulous dinner of prime rib and lamb (and lots of yummy sides), we took the kids to the park so they could run around some more. We had a lovely time, as always and can't wait to add one more girl to the group of 4 boys and Maggie.

Well, since I had a little bit of time to myself, I finally got around to compiling all the princess videos we took when we went to Epcot a few weeks ago. Please be sure to check out the bottom of this previous post to see the video of Caleb with several of the Disney princesses. He was so shy, it was really precious. And that kiss from Snow White stayed there all day and night!

Time to catch up

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I really do have lots to share. But before I do, I want thank all of you who have left comments over these last few weeks. They have been so encouraging, you can hardly know. Thanks so much! Okay, here it goes...

We really enjoy baseball as a family. Caleb is really fascinated with the pitcher and catcher, especially in the bullpens. It's really cute. He likes to try to wind up and pitch like the pitchers do, too. Just precious. So two weekends ago, Patrick, Caleb and I headed out to Kissimmee (FL) to watch the Yankees take on the Astros. The weather was perfect, upper 70s and sunny. The Yankees ended up losing 8-6, but I got a few great shots of the Yankees with my zoom lens. So as soon as I can find the time, I will upload them (notice the ongoing uploading problem I have? LOL)

Anyway, this past weekend, my sister, Andy and Leah all came so that Deb could help me paint Madeline's room. As we were painting, I kept remarking that it was just "so different" as we covered over a beautiful, deep red in the guestroom to make it Madeline's lime/neon green girlie room. I am so thankful it only took one coat of tinted primer and one coat of paint to cover the red. I will upload some photos of the room transformation a little later. While Deb and I painted, Caleb and Leah just played together the whole time. It was so precious. They really played well together with very little "interruptions."

Our SW came today so that we could update our home study. It was a pretty funny visit because she was just here 2 months ago. She was like, "Has anything really changed in the last two months?" It was great to see her, but c'mon. Having to do this update seems a bit ridiculous. Anyway, our immigration approval and fingerprints expire at the end of April. So this visit really was necessary in order to update our immigration approval. Our fingerprints will need to be valid when we are in China finalzing our application for Madeline's immigration visa. So we will have just enough time to get this approved and done before we travel this summer. (By the way, I love the sound of that- travel in summer!)

I still have lots of painting left to do in Madeline's room- the closet doors and all the trim. I can't wait to be done with it because then I can get back to sewing! Yahoooo. When Leah was here this weekend, I had her try on (for the hundredth time) the first outfit I ever made Madeline almost 4.5 years ago. It's an adorable little red romper with itty bitty cream stars. It's sized 18-24months, and still fits Leah at 30months, 33.5inches and 30lbs! So I am thrilled that Madeline will likely get the chance to wear this.

Now that I have a bit more time to catch my thoughts, I thought I would share with you exactly how we found out about our LOA. It was pretty funny how the events unfolded. I missed our agency's call on my cell phone and was listening to the message....all the while thinking, "They're probably calling because our immigration approval expires at the end of April and want to make sure we're taking care of getting it updated. They wouldn't be calling to tell us we have our LOA because that would be way too soon and nearly impossible." As I was listening to my message, I noticed the time- it was 3:26pm....this happens to be our original LID date...March 26th. I thought, "Well, wouldn't it be totally awesome if in fact they're calling to tell us they have our LOA." But I didn't want to get my hopes. My message said they would be calling Patrick at work. So I wanted to talk to him as quickly as I could. No sooner did I finish listening to my message, I had Patrick calling me. He asked me if I had spoken to our Ch*ina coordinator yet. I told him "No." He said, "Don't bother. I already have. We got our LOA!" My reponse, (thankfully I was sitting) was "No we didn't!" He had to convince me we did. I was stunned and started to cry. Caleb at first didn't know what to think of the situation. But I reassured him I was crying happy tears. He was cool with that and excited to learn we would be going to Ch*ina soon to bring his sister home.

Well, I told Patrick that I would have to call our agency because I had a lot of questions for them that he had no idea what they were. LOL. Then he told me, "Well, she told me we had our LOA. And I knew it was important. But I was like, "What's the date on that?" Oh my goodness, I was laughing so hard. He said he knew it was important when she told him we would get TA in about 10 weeks. But he really had no idea what he was so thankful for....though he knew I would be extremely happy. Ya gotta love it. "Just please sign here, honey....thanks." LOL.

Anyway, I'm sure there's more that I'm missing. But I didn't want to get any more behind in my blogging than I already was. LOL I'll add photos soon....promise!

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About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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