Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Because our government agencies can't talk to each other we were fingerprinted for a second time this morning. Last time we were fingerprinted for our homestudy through the FBI; this time we were fingerprinted by Dept. of Homeland Security for our immigration approval.

We had the kids up at 5:30 am and left shortly after 6:00 only to arrive almost 30 minutes early. Oh well, it was definitely an appointment we didn't want to be late for! We were pleasantly surprised to find the staff friendly and efficient and we were on our way by 8:30.

I called USCIS this afternoon to see if our case had been assigned a caseworker and it still hasn't...BUT, they are working on applications through June 2nd and our date is June 4th. So, hopefully we will be receiving a caseworker and an approval in the next few days!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Little update

Here is a picture of the care package sent to Hongyuan at the orphanage. We don't know if she is still in foster care or has been moved to the orphanage but either way I really hope they share the photos with her and use the camera to take pictures of her. Any bits of information or pictures we can get will help Claire with understanding her adoption story as she grows up. One bit of sad news is the orphanage will not share any updates or photos with Ann at Red Thread China. Prior to sending a care package Ann makes a phone call to the orphanage to ask the questions and ask for new pictures. Usually she will get new photos within a couple of days so we were really looking forward to that. We will request an update through our agency in a month or so and hopefully they will share updates with them.

The wonderful lady that I talked to at USCIS actually did call me back the next morning; she is so pleasant and nice! She got our fingerprints scheduled for June 23rd at 8:00 am. This is fantastic because it's early enough for J to not miss work and best of all- we will still be in town!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Care package and news

We had a care package sent to Hongyuan today. We wrote a letter to the orphanage director and nannies and asked them to use the disposable camera to take pictures of her. We asked several questions and included candy for the kids and photos of us for Hongyuan. I can't wait to find out if she received it and was able to look at the photos. We will be absolutely delighted if we receive new photos or updated information.
We ordered the care package through Ann at www.redthreadchina.com She is a wonderful lady that lives in Guangzhou that sends care packages for adoptive families and communicates with the orphanages to receive updates and photos. She can also be hired as a personal shopping guide in Guangzhou; we will definitely be doing that!

We also got our first notice of action from USCIS. They received our I-800A on May 29th and logged it into the system on June 4th. I called to ask if we had been assigned a caseworker yet and was told no, and we have about 50 ahead of us. :( Several minutes later she called back and tried to schedule our fingerprints over the phone (a HUGE thing, usually you receive a postcard in the mail with your time to show up) and when she couldn't she highlighted our name and is going to call tomorrow after she tries again. Wow, a huge thank you to her!
I was really hoping our I-800A would follow the current trend and be done in about 30 days but when I heard there were 50 families ahead of us I quickly realized it wouldn't be 30 days to approval. Having someone on your side in any of these steps is a huge plus.

Monday, June 1, 2009


On our 12th day of waiting (which is one day after our 12th anniversary!)we received our pre-approval from China! The CCAA was closed for several days last week due to the Dragon Boat Festival so I didn't expect any news until the end of this week, at the earliest. When I opened my email just before noon and saw the pre-approval message from our agency I squealed so loud I scared the dog.

What this means-
China accepted our letter of intent and nurturing/care plan and officially locked her file for us. We still have to get our dossier to China and get through the review room before we will be issued our Letter of Approval (LOA). The LOA is the no-kidding-she-is-yours document but the PA allows us to announce our intent to the world, with photos!

So, without further ado, I introduce...
Claire Hong Yuan

She is 6 years old and waiting for us in Beijing.
One small speed bump is Beijing requires a 14 day stay before flying to the US Consulate in Guanghzou. Instead of our adoption trip being 12-14 days it will be 18-21 days. It will be very hard to leave our other children for that long but on the flip side we will be able to tour Beijing with Claire and have a lot of pictures of her in her birth city. Claire turns 7 in December and we would absolutely love to travel by then so we can celebrate her birthday with her.
Our next step is to complete our dossier and get it to China ASAP. The only thing we need to complete the dossier is our USCIS approval. Once our dossier gets to China they will thoroughly review it and then issue us a Letter of Approval.