Chillin' in the breeze

Monday, April 29, 2013

Blow. Blow.  Wipe. Wipe.
Yes, I actually dusted off my big girl camera this past week and snapped a few photos of the dumplings enjoying themselves at our favorite-y favorite park by the river.  Our move a few months ago makes it less convenient to venture there.  Add to that the big cul-de-sac and neighborhood kids, and we haven't spent a whole lotta time there this spring.  Well, I hope to change that these next few weeks.  I certainly can't predict how well re-entry to the U.S. will go this summer when we all return home from China with Havi. So I want to make sure the dumplings enjoy some days at the park while I'm completely cohoerent and functioning.

So last week, we did just that....enjoyed a beautiful day at the park.

Madeline enjoyed blowing her face dry as well as her hands after using the potty. And Caleb decided to photo bomb the shot.  That stinker!
Look at those furrowed, grouchy eyebrows.
Then she thought she'd pinch them for good measure.
Seriously, I love that park.  I love the oak trees and the gorgeous view of the river. No, I didn't snap any down by the river because I took these in the middle of the day.  But ya better believe we're gonna do our best to catch some sunsets down there this summer.

Well, this weekend we actually sneaked away as a familia to attend the wedding of the daughter of dear friends of ours.  I brought my big girl camera with me and snapped a bunch of shots during our trip to the beach and around the hotel, but I didn't bring it to the actual wedding.  I did, however, bring my iPhone, for which I am glad.  You'll have to wait until I get those photos uploaded and posted to hear about where the wedding was held.  It was pretty stinkin' cool if you ask me.  That's why I'm keeping mum until I actually share the photos.  And if you're my sister and you're reading this, zip your lips too! he he.

iPhone photo dump and something that makes me smile

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Phew, that was a long post title.  Well, let's get to the news so we can get to the photo dump.  The good news is that today,as Havi turns 17 months old, we received the PDF copy of our cable approval letter for her adoption.  I know that's not decipherable to most of you.  Basically it means that our I-800 approval has been forwarded to Guangzhou, where Havi's immigration visa interview will take place. Since the approval has been forwarded, our rep in Guangzhou can now drop off her visa application, the DS-230.  This is known in adoption circles as the Article 5.  This will likely take place this Thursday. Two weeks later, it will be picked up and forwarded to CCCW@ in Beijing.  That's when our official wait for Travel Approval (TA) will begin.  That would make a great birthday present for me.  Really.  

Anyway, I know I promised iPhone photos, like um, forever ago.  So here are some from the last month.  I really have taken a ton of photos with my phone these last few months..  I'm thankful for it, as I haven't picked up my big girl camera much at all these last few weeks.  I have been spending waaay more time sewing. Anyway, here are just some of the photos that tell what we've been up to.  
 playing bible trivia with a helmet I made him
 an afternoon of bowling

birthday flowers for Madeline 
 pretty sunset 
the day her passport arrived
Easter egg hunt

 go-cart park

 morning snuggles
 spinning in a new twirl skirt, wearing her old Halloween scrub top costume, and so is Caleb lol
 another little skirt
 vanilla cupcakes with chocolate swiss meringue buttercream (YUM)
 lots of baseball and peanuts to munch
 swimming...practically every day
 school (she did this on her own for fun)
watching the painters
a bright white great room 

a panorama shot of the new white walls
The bedrooms are in the back, to the left and right, and the kids playroom is to the right where that window is. 

And yes, as you can see, besides painting, we haven't done anything in this space but move stuff in. lol  We'll get there...someday.  Actually, I need to stop sewing clothes for the girls and get cracking on some home dec stuff, like new toss pillows for the living room and the girls' bedding.  And since we'll likely be in China in 2 months, I should really get on that.

Over the moon

Monday, April 15, 2013

What a day!  What a day!

But I must back up to last Thursday.  That's when the tide started to turn.  After getting nowhere fast with the passport call center (again), I hung up the phone pretty steamed and practically in tears.  I decided that for the umpteenth time, I would search the house again for Madeline's passport, in case we never gave it to them in the first place.  Only this time I decided to look in places it shouldn't be.  And what do you know?  There it was....mixed up with Patrick's business docs.  Yep, it was under our noses the entire month, and we didn't know it.  The last four weeks were extremely stressful, and I wouldn't want to relive them.  But I'm grateful to have Madeline's Chinese passport in my possession, even if we did have it the entire time.  Big big relief!  Now we can apply for our visas.

Also on Thursday, I decided to give our immigration officer call.  Remember, the one whose name escaped me?  She informed me that our applications had just come across her desk that day and that I should call her back Monday afternoon, as she would likely have us approved by then.  Great.  I'm on it.

Then we had the cake we ordered for Havi...oh a month ago.  We still hadn't received the photos, and it had us worried.  Other families adopting from the same orphanage waited days to receive their cake photos.  We were waiting almost a month.  I expressed my concern to Ann at Red Thread China.  On Saturday, she told me she was finally able to communicate with the orphanage, and that she would try to get us the photos on Monday.  Well, it goes without staying I started checking my email like crazy Sunday night and Monday morning.

Sure enough, right in the middle of our school lessons this morning, I saw the email.  So Caleb and I made a mad dash to the computer to pull them up.  And here they are!!!  And yes, for those of you who know your Chinese cartoons, that is Pleasant Goat on her cake!

Then this afternoon, as I called our immigration officer to check on the status of our applications, I could barely get a word in before she told me that she approved us this morning!  So...that means the approval will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) where the approval notice will be cabled (electronically delivered) to Guangzhou, where the immigration interview will take place in China.  It should take about a week to ten days to get the approval cabled.  Then Havi's visa application (Article 5) can be dropped off.  Two weeks later it will be picked up and then delivered to CCCW@ when we will wait for our Travel Invitation (or Travel Approval, TA.)  TA will come 2-3 weeks later.  So, we should definitely be able to travel in June, following Madeline's dance recital.  

Today was truly an amazing day.  To see our daughter smiling and laughing...that's priceless.  To jump over one more paperwork hurdle...icing on the cake (couldn't resist saying that).

I do promise to give another update soon.  Life just has us busy.  A good busy, but still busy.  I'll get those iPhone snapshots up soon.

Some Easter fun and a paperchase update

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

It's hard to believe that I haven't updated the blog in a few weeks, but I guess we've just been that busy.  That, and I didn't want to sound like a broken record with the "still no progress on the adoption front" kind of news.  That gets old real fast. (Just ask me what I was doing three years ago.  It gets old! lol)

It's also been a while since I picked up my big girl camera.  That, and I can't get my act together to do an iPhone photo dump. So since I finally managed to snap a few photos this weekend, (and I have news) I figured I better share the photos and the update before too much time slips away.

On Saturday, the dumplings dyed eggs.
On Sunday we went to church.  Then before heading over to our friends' house for the afternoon, I snapped a few photos of the kids out back.  This was our first "photo shoot" in our new backyard. It's not as big as our old one, but it will do.
Did you see that bird feeder and bath in the background?  The kids had a field day "playing "with them when I was snapping individual shots of them.  Here's proof.
So I had to be a little creative with my angles and placement.
The kids had a quick bite to eat.  And then as we were trying to rush out the door, I stopped them for a few quick snaps inside.
Madeline wanted to twirl for me.
Then, apparently, sometimes their mama can crack a joke or two.  I should've "upped" my ISO and shutter speed, but we were in a rush.  Still love 'em.

We truly had a lovely and relaxing Easter weekend.  Well, maybe I did.  Patrick had to work a little, poor fella.

So, I know some of you are curious about the latest happenings with Havi's  adoption. After a grueling five week wait since we received our LOA, our home study agency finally completed our necessary update for our Supplement 3 (because we moved.) So on Friday, we finally mailed off our I-800 and Supplement 3 applications. Hopefully our Supp 3 is approved without any RFE's (Request For Evidence). If all goes well, both will get approved in 2-3 weeks. Then we wait for our I-800 approval to be cabled to Guangzhou. After that our Article 5 can be dropped off. Two weeks later, it will be picked up, and we will begin our wait for TA (Travel Approval), which can take 2-3 weeks.   If all goes well, we should be able to travel this June.

Although I'm trying to trust it's all going to work out, I'm now beginning to worry, mostly about our Supplement 3, whether not not our approval will be issued without delay or not. Immigration officers can be picky. I called our officer just one time, to let her know we moved. Other than that, I have had no communication with her. She did approve our I-800A application with no problem.  But seriously, I can't even remember her name! How pathetic is that?! Doesn't every prospective adoptive parent (PAP) know their officer's name? Yes, but not me! Oh how I pray it all goes well.

On top of that, we have a major problem with Madeline's Chinese passport. We applied and received her new U.S. passport.  However, the passport center failed to return her Chinese passport when they returned all the other supporting documents!  The Chinese Embassy requires all Chinese passports for U.S. citizens who were formerly Chinese nationals to also be sent when requesting their first tourist/travel Visa... which would be Madeline.  We NEED to get this item back and STAT so we can apply for our Visas.  The call center won't request original documents to be returned until it's been two weeks since the U.S. passport has been received.  Well, I wasn't waiting two weeks for them to request the item be returned.  So I wrote a letter and overnighted it.  It's been almost one week since I mailed the letter, and NO ONE has called me about the matter.  Needless to say, I'm not happy.  AND I'm stressed out about it.  Please pray that someone will call me or they will just locate it and return it to us soon.  We certainly don't need this extra hassle.

So that's where things stand on the adoption front.  Oh, we also ordered a cake care package for Havi but have yet to receive any photos.  To say that I'm disappointed is an understatement.  It's been over two weeks since we ordered the package.  When oh when will we receive some updated photos of our little Havi?  I'm just so bummed.

Anyway, I do promise to share some iPhone photos here soon.  And hopefully we have some good news to share too.

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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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