Monday, October 26, 2009

Three Sweet Words - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
Shortly after leaving the house to take Emily to the doctor my cell phone rang. I've been on pins and needles all day wondering/hoping that FTIA would be receiving a package of LOAs and ours would be included. Of course the call would come in just after leaving the house!

Our caseworker said the sweetest words- "yes, a package did come in today and your LOA was in it!" Praise the Lord!
So, our LOA did arrive in our 12th week of waiting and even better it arrived on day #88. Eight is considered a lucky number in China.

So, what are the next steps? More waiting.
1. The agency overnighted our LOA packet to us so we will receive it tomorrow.
2. We sign the LOA and send it back to them, along with the visa paperwork for Claire's visa. They will send it on to China ahead of our arrival.
3. Tomorrow I will be sending our I-800 off to USCIS. This is the second half of the immigration process. The first part approved us to adopt an orphan from China, this step will approve us to adopt Claire specifically and set it up that she will automatically become a US citizen once on US soil.
4. Once approved, USCIS will send our approval to the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China. We will have our final appointment at this consulate so they get part of the paperwork ready for us ahead of time.
5. When the consulate receives our I-800 approval, a second LOA that our agency will send and Claire's visa paperwork they will issue a document called the "Article 5." This is sent to the CCAA to let them know everything is in order on the US side and we can travel to China.
6. After all that the CCAA will issue us our Travel Approval, or TA. Once we get the TA we can set an appointment with the consulate and we back our travel up from that.

Right now it is taking about 50-80 days to get from LOA to TA. I think traveling by the end of the year will happen only with a miracle. We are most likely looking at travel in January.

Thank you all for your prayers and definitely don't stop now; we have a lot ahead of us.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Today is day #84, exactly 12 weeks since our dossier was logged in. Exactly 12 weeks of waiting for the phone to ring, exactly 12 weeks of stalking the China adoption forum for any news, exactly 12 weeks of wondering where our dossier is among the sea of desks in China and wondering if they approve our family to adopt Claire.
Maybe 12 is our number and this will be our week though. We received our pre-approval 12 days after submitting our letter of intent and that was also the day after our 12th wedding anniversary. So, to say I'm hopeful that we will receive our LOA in our 12th week is an understatement.

In other news-
We have asked our agency a question, who passed the question onto their rep in China who in turn asked the orphanage (follow the chain here?). We asked if we could pay for Claire to receive English tutoring while we wait to travel. The orphanage responded quickly that they would like to find her an English teacher and will then let us know the cost. Wow, this could be so valuable for all of us!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Please let this ride stop

I feel like we are on a roller coaster ride with hills, valleys, turns, dips and once in awhile I think we may even be flung upside down. Just like a roller coaster, it takes a lot longer to go up than it does to fly down the hill. I get my hopes up for over a week only to have those hopes fall fast in one day. With each close of business on Thursday I mentally tell myself that 'next week' will be it.

Two weeks ago a flood of LOAs arrived at many agencies. I was secretly hoping ours would be arriving, as we were just over the 60 day mark. The government agency in China would be going on break for over a week to celebrate National Day and the Moon Festival so I knew if it didn't arrive within a short time span we would be waiting at least two more weeks for any news. Obviously, it didn't arrive. I was very bummed and it was made worse by the fact that four other families adopting from Beijing did receive their LOA that week; some of which had waited less time than we have. This process does not make sense; you can't figure it out and I think that drives us every bit closer to crazy as each day ticks on the calendar.
So, today is day #75. The roller coaster has been ticking slowly up since that bummy day two weeks ago. My hopes are quite high for this week. I know I shouldn't do that because it can only lead to more disappointment but it is insanely hard to tell my heart not to jump at every phone call. It is almost reverse of being 40+ weeks pregnant. Instead of relatives calling and sounding disappointed when you answer the phone they get to hear your voice of disappointment when you answer the phone and they aren't the adoption agency. No offense, I love you all but you need to somehow figure out how to change your caller ID to read FTIA.

Please say a prayer for us that we will get that much desired phone call soon. It has been 4 1/2 months since we saw our darling girl's face and committed to making her our daughter. While it may not seem like a long time in the grand scheme of life it is feeling like eternity right now.