He finally did it!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Caleb loves to play baseball in the front yard with a tennis ball and his aluminum bat. He's a great hitter. We put 4 pavers in the shape of a diamond in the front yard. He stands at "home plate" on our property line to the north of the house. He hits the ball well across the front yard (which is 100 ft across.) Several times he has hit the ball on to the roof of the house. But because of the pitch, it has come back down to the front yard. I told him that one day, he'll surely hit the ball over the house and into the side yard. Well, today was that day! I gave him a nice pitch to hit (which is a rarity). And Patrick was actually home from work but on his cell phone in the front yard. So we all got to witness this incredible triumph. We are so proud of him. And just two pitches before that....well, he hit a line drive right into my forehead! I didn't even have a glove on because I had just taken a quick break from sewing. So I was pretty defenseless with that hit. Needless to say, I STILL have a headache. And that was over 3 hours ago. Oh well. He's excited to play T-ball this fall. He should move up quickly to coach pitch. But he might be required to play a spring season of T-ball before they move him up. I guess we'll actually have to make him practice hitting the ball off the tee. Watch out, A-Rod. You've got some competition on the rise.

On the paperchase front, I got word yesterday from our Ch*in@ coordinator that our documents were in fact dropped off at the consulate. So our Article 5 should be ready for pickup on May 31st. We're still hopeful for TA the 3rd week of June, with travel 1.5 weeks later.

Oh, for those of you interested in my sewing projects....I finished up that Patty Young pattern. It is soooo precious. I can't wait for Leah to try it on next weekend. And I'm finishing up my first pair of double ruffle pants. Too too cute. If you're not in to college football, you might not appreciate the fabric, though. Leah will be more than happy to sport those too next time. Stay tuned.

Some girlie clothes for Madeline

Thursday, May 13, 2010

So I have finally gotten around to uploading and editing some photos I've taken of Leah modeling some girlie clothes I've made for Madeline.

Wearing a drop waist sundress from New Look, view D . It's hard to appreciate the drop waist when she's sitting. But it still looks quite cute.

Simple sundress from New Look, view D

A fun free sundress pattern from Oliver +S, their popover dress

Pink Fig's Juliet top, corset style. I found the pants first at my consignment shop and then found the fabric to go with it. Just perfect for a summer adoption trip to Wuhan, Ch*in@.

The back has a cute elastic bodice, with a full gathered skirt

The Julia skirt by Patty Young from her Modkid pattern collection. Just love love love the fullness of this skirt. As the pattern warns, be sure to keep all that fabric out of your waistband when you attach it. Love the peek-a-boo. So sweet and girlie. I bought the top first and then found the fabrics for the skirt to go with it.

Simple and sweet Butterick pattern, view A. I used Sandi Henderson's meadowdot in citrus, to go with the cute shorts I already purchased.

Cute gathered back. I added the ribbon to the hem. It can be layered for cooler weather. I will also be making some ruffle pants using this fabric for the ruffles for those cooler months.

As you can see, I am just having a blast sewing cute clothes for Madeline. My stash of fabrics continues to grow, while my wait for travel gets shorter. I definitely won't have time to finish everything I want to make before we travel. But I sure am having fun. I'm finishing up another Patty Young pattern, as I type!

We're approved!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

After patiently waiting all morning and the early part of this afternoon for correspondence from our covering im*migration officer, I just couldn't wait any longer. I called the 800# and lo and behold, she was the one who answered the phone. She immediately told me that she just approved us and was getting ready to send me copies of both our I-800A and I-800 approvals. Both of them need our new fingerprint date on them. I just about fell over. She informed me that she would forward them to the NVC so that they could be cabled. That should take about a week. She did tell me, however, that she didn't think our agency could hand deliver copies of our new approvals. If that is the case, then our documents can't get dropped off until the next drop off date, which, at this point, will be next Thursday. I really hope that is not the case. I scanned the copies of our approval notices to our agency as soon as I could. But I doubt they'll be able to attempt a drop off tomorrow. It's possible, but it's looking more like Monday, and if it has to be cabled, we'll then it's definitely going to be dropped off next Thursday. Just like last time, it will be a few days before our approvals are overnighted to the NVC. And once they are there, it will take a day or two before we're actually cabled. It sure would be nice to be cabled this Friday for a definitely drop off on Monday. But I'm not counting on that AT ALL. I will play by the law of averages and be thankful for that. Even if we didn't have our I-800A expire, the earliest our documents could've been dropped off at the consulate would be tomorrow.

So considering all things, we are in pretty good shape- either right on time or just one week late. I am truly thankful for this. It could've been a lot worse. But I think we'll still be traveling pretty close to when I suspected once we got our LOA. It's unreal to think that in just a few short weeks, we'll all be on a plane to Ch*in@, and we'll soon become a family of four!

Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Yesterday was like Christmas morning, as I went out to get the mail. I found the following items tucked in our mailbox:

  • National Visa Center- cable letter (which a copy needs to get to our Ch*in@ coordinator ASAP)
  • Our fingerprint appointment notices- 4 of them actually. I suspect our officer issued a duplicate to be mailed before she headed out of town to ensure we got them this week. We each had 2 copies of our notices....pretty funny.
  • My latest sewing pattern from Portobello Pixie, the most adorable ruffle pants !

So today, the order of business was the following:

  1. Email our agency a copy of the NVC letter and let them know we were going to get printed early and to be on the lookout for our I-800A this week
  2. Zip over to Orlando to finally get printed
  3. Call/email our covering im*migration officer to let her know what's up.

Patrick was able to get off work early enough to attempt our walk-in. We arrived at 3:15; they close at 4pm. There was only one other person waiting to be printed. So we thought our chances were good. We explained that we had fingerprint appointments but were here early because our I-800A just expired. We couldn't even get the rest of our story out before the officer was like, "Let me see your hands and your ID." Phew! And praise the Lord! Not only was it a snap to walk in early for us. But the officer actually kept joking around with us and Caleb. He kept asking Caleb if he wanted a big brother as well as a little sister. I was laughing so hard under my breath. I had just sat down and put my purse down when my number was called. In fact, they didn't even call Patrick's number; they just took him back. We were in and out in 15 minutes, I kid you not! It was such a relief and a huge answer to prayer. I would've gone nuts if I had to wait until May 27th to get fingerprinted.

Anyway, after hopping back in the car and heading home, I called our covering officer and left a message for her regarding our early fingerprinting today. After I left the message, I realized I didn't give her our UPS account #. So I was bummed about that. But then Patrick remember he had his 3G USB "thingie" for the notebook in the backseat of the car. So I quickly shot an email to our covering officer as well, this time giving her our UPS account so that she can overnight the approval to us.

So hopefully and prayerfully, our covering officer will be able to issue us approval on our Supplement 3 this week. She has until Thursday to approve us if our Ch*in@ coordinator is going to drop off our documents at the consulate in Guang*zhou on Monday. Otherwise we will be stuck waiting until Thursday. Either way, our wait for TA will begin at the very beginning of June. If we get TA 3 weeks after that, we could travel at the end of June. If it takes 4 weeks for TA, then we will travel first week of July. I will feel so much better once we get our im*migration approval sent over to Ch*in@ and our documents dropped off at the consulate. But it's nice to know we are nearing the end of this Hague paperchase. And we will soon be on a plane to bring our precious Madeline home.

Some fishing & when will the drama ever end???

Friday, May 7, 2010

So we had an absolutely fabulous time out on our Gheenoe yesterday. We had a minor issue with our little 5hp engine when we launched the boat into the water. But it was easily fixed, and we were on our way down the river in no time. We found a little fishing spot not too far from the launch because Patrick had to go in to work in the afternoon. With it being our inaugural boat trip, Patrick picked up a few things from one of our local bait and tackle shops. Then in our excitement, we left it all in the car. LOL. So we were left with very little in the tackle box which we could use to fish with. But that didn't stop Caleb. In fact, he managed to catch TWO, yes TWO catfish on the same line!!!! Patrick had put two hooks on his line, and viola! Our son, the fisherman! We were so proud of him. And although I didn't bring my camera, I managed to catch a few photos using Patrick's i phone. So we're quite happy about that. We also managed to get the boat in and out of the water without incident, although it was quite clear we were newbie boat owners while doing it. LOL. Ya gotta start somewhere, right?

When we got home, I was anxious for the mail to come because as soon as we get our fingerprint appointment notice, we are going to walk in early to the im*migration support center. Well, the mail came and no notice. Having grown tired of waiting for it, I decided to call customer service to see if we even had our appointment scheduled. At first, the officer tried to tell me our application hasn't even been received in Missouri yet. But I wasn't buying it because our last fingerprint notice came just 3 days after our I-800A notice. I kept on him to check and wadda know, he said we were scheduled for May 27th at 11am. He couldn't confirm when the appointment was made, and therefore, when we would receive the notice in the mail. But I knew that meant it would be coming any day, and that gave me a glimmer of hope.

I decided to email our officer to let her know that as soon as we received our fingerprint notice in the mail, we were going to try to walk in early and could she approve us quickly. She said she would be ready to approve us quickly and also suggested that I give her a courier account # so that she could overnight our approval to us. I thanked her and gave her an account for shipping. Then she emailed me and told me that she was going to be out of the office all next week. I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. But then she gave me the name of another officer who can assist us, should we get printed next week and need approval while she's out of the office. Phew! She has been so helpful to us during this entire process. We couldn't be happier that she's been assigned to our case. And with that comment, I believe she also expects us to get approved next week because she's the one who schedules our appointment.

Unfortunately, the mailman has already come today and AGAIN no appointment notice in the mail. I am totally bummed about it because Patrick was going to try to finish up work early so we could head over there (1.5 hour drive.) But now it doesn't matter. Our only hope now is to get the letter by Tuesday and zip over to Orlando for fingerprinting that afternoon. This is likely going to be the case. If the appointment was already in the system yesterday, and they mailed it at the latest yesterday or today AND it takes 4 days to get mail from Missouri...then we will have it by Tuesday for sure and will be able to head over there for printing (as long as it doesn't get lost by the USPS.) Regardless of when this new officer will be able to approve us next week, our agency won't be able to drop off our documents at the consulate until the following Monday, which is May 17th. Two weeks from that date (May 31st), our Article 5 will be picked up and overnighted to CC@@ in Bei*jing when we will begin our 2-4 week wait for TA. It's still possible to leave the last week of June but more likely the first week of July, as long as consulate appointments aren't booked when our agency tries to schedule it for us.

Well, I had a feeling we weren't going to get the letter in the mail today because when I was out running errands this morning, I heard John Waller's son While I'm Waiting. Yup, that's been my theme song this entire adoption. So I shouldn't really be surprised by today's news. Anyway, in the meantime I can actually finish up Madeline's room, keep on sewing her adorable clothes and play baseball with the greatest son ever.

I'll leave you with some photos from yesterday.

Waiting patiently for the fish to bite

Daddy helping Caleb reel in TWO, yes TWO, catfish
Caleb getting the net ready
Showing off his two fish from the same line

Why not?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's just too easy not to... so I did....enter my son in the Parents cover model search, that is. And now for the winning photo...

Seriously, though, can he get any cuter? I know there are many mommies and daddies out there who simply adore their kiddos and will be entering them in this cover search. So with that in mind, I know the "odds" of Caleb being selected as a finalist are slim, just based on numbers. I'm not doing it because I want him to win (although I think he should *wink wink*) but because: 1. it really is simple and 2. I want to share my son's precious face with anybody who's willing to look! I wish essays could accompany the photo entry because this is what I would have to say:

Caleb is not only as handsome as can be, he is the most loving and caring young boy. It's hard to believe he's come from such a humble beginning; you'd be hard pressed to know it. His laughter and smile just light up any room. His compassion is amazing and beyond his young five years. He's going to make the greatest big brother any little sister could ask for. He loves, loves, loves BASEBALL. (You might want to hang on to that autograph because it might be worth something one day.) And although we don't know anything about his birth parents, we are certain they are funny, smart, athletic, seafood lovers! We are so privledged to be his forever mommy and daddy. Caleb, we love you like crazycakes!

Hooray for more baby steps!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

When I learned yesterday that our I-800 provisional approval had been overnighted to the NVC last Thursday, I thought I would take a chance today and call the NVC to check the status of our case. I was pleasantly surprised that when I called, I only had to wait on hold a few minutes before being put through. And then I just about fell over when the gal on the phone told me, "Actually, your case was just cabled today. You should expect to receive a letter confirming this in a few days." *insert fall on the floor*

I am hoping that we receive this letter by the end of the weekend. Once we have this letter, we will send a copy of it to our agency (hopefully our in-Ch*in@ coordinator). Once she has a copy of the letter, then she will drop off all our documents at the Consulate in Guang*zhou. Drop offs are only allowed twice a week- on Mondays and Thursdays. So hopefully hopefully hopefully, she will be able to drop everything off on Monday, if not then it will be Thursday. Two weeks later, the Consulate will issue us "Article 5." She will then pick it up and overnight it to the CC@@ in Bei*jing. Then we will wait anywhere from 2-4 weeks for our Travel Approval (TA.) If our agency can confirm our consulate appointment for the date we want (if appointments aren't booked up by then), then we will likely travel about 1.5 weeks later. So if all of this continues to go as planned, we can still travel at the end of June or early July. Leaving at the end of June would be ideal for Patrick's work situation. So we are really hoping and praying for it. If TA came sooner, that would be great too. We just couldn't leave until the end of June, which would be fine with me. Now if my sister's father-in-law still worked for the postal service and had a magical way to get us our cable letter super fast....hmm.....oh well. We'll wait like everybody else, I guess.

What a weekend

Monday, May 3, 2010

It started off just great....on Friday, we received our I-800A Supplement 3 notice in the mail, only 8 days after submission. Hopefully, we will get our Fingerprint appointment notice by this time next week. We are most definitely go to attempt to "walk in" and get printed early. Just waiting for the word. We also received our I-800 Provisional Approval notice on Saturday. While we're on a roll...we also got word today from our immigration officer that our I-800 provisional approval was overnighted to the NVC (National Visa Center) last Thursday and successfully delivered on Friday, the 30th. Hip hip hooray. All these little baby steps make it feel like we will soon be on our way to Ch*in@.

On Saturday, our small town held its annual Founder's Day festivities. It was the first time in 6 years that we were actually in town without plans, so we could attend. We "adopted" a turtle for the Turtle Splash. For this event, you could purchase a plastic turtle which was dropped in the river and "raced" to the finish line. All money raised went to benefit a local foundation for children with special needs. They had some great prizes for the top finisher, but our turtle wasn't fast enough. ;) We ran into a neighbor on our way over there, so we enjoyed hanging out with her while her son and Caleb ice cream and played with their new foam bow and arrows. It sure was hot, but a fun time was had by all.

I've been having fun sewing for Madeline. And since I will see my niece Leah this weekend, I just might snap a few photos of her sporting Madeline's new girlie clothes. That reminds me that I still have to share the other photos I took of Leah modeling Madeline's clothes. So I will likely do all that at the same time.

That's about it....just keeping busy getting ready to bring our precious daughter home. I hope to have more good news to share very soon.

New photos of both our kiddos!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ni Hao, Madeline!

I am stunned to have received these updated photos so quickly. I just asked our Ch*in@ coordinator for some updated measurements on Tuesday, and today I received 2 new photos of the most precious little girl, desperate for some pink in her wardrobe! Of all the wintercoats she's been photographed in, this one seems to be the most popular.

I also can't wait for the weather to warm up for her so she can move her left arm more freely. I'm sure that jacket is so thick they can't even roll up that sleeve. Her poor arm looks like it's just hanging there by her side.

It looks like her hair has grown in a smidge since her birthday chop. I sure hope they just let it grow out for the next 2 months. If not, it's okay too. It's only hair; it'll grow back.

I'm thrilled to have these photos because I didn't even ask for them. I just asked for updated measurements because I am starting to pack for Madeline. Thanks to my niece, Leah, I am able to make some good guesses at what sizes to bring. But it sure would be nice to get a new weight and height, so I feel better about it.

And to give a brief update on our I-800A/I-800 situation...

Our SW was able to overnight our new updated home study the other day. So instead of receiving it today, I received it yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't get Patrick to sign the paperwork. So when the home study arrived a day early, that meant I had to drive 40 minutes to his office to get his signature and then head over to FedEx office to ship it. It chewed up a good bit of my afternoon yesterday. But I am happy to report that it has been successfully delivered to the immigration lockbox in Texas this morning. Hooray. Two little pieces of good news this morning. I like the trend we're starting.....

***I'm also adding 2 photos of Caleb dressed up as the flower boy for Lily's wedding.

So serious

And always so silly

He's growing up so fast and getting more handsome by the day!

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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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