Monday, November 30, 2009

quilt progress and other stuff

First, I have been working on Claire's quilt a lot. I mean a lot; so much so that I started getting blisters on my fingers from cutting and cramps in my shoulders from sewing. So here is what I have so far.

Do you see your fabric?
Don't worry if you don't, that is only 30 quilt blocks laid out. So far I have 79 blocks done and I still have fabric that can be used. Here is a tip for all future good-wish-quilt makers; use only one square or one fat quarter of fabric for each contribution. File the extra away in fabric file 51 and save it. Seriously. I received several contributions (including our own) of 1/2 yard of fabric or more. I thought the more the better so I cut all of it to be put into the quilt. I now have enough quilt squares for a queen sized quilt and it is still growing. This quilt has turned out much bigger than I anticipated but I don't feel like I can stop now; it is certainly a labor of love!

Update on paperwork shuffle-
Our I-800 approval was sent to the National Visa Center on 11/19 and cabled to Guanghzou the next day- 11/20. I read today that another family who was cabled the same day received their Article 5 yesterday. I haven't heard any word from our agency on our Article 5, but leave it to inpatient me to email them last night to check. It would truly be awesome to get our Article 5 so quickly and move onto the last step- our travel approval.

After taking Matthew to the eye doctor today to check the healing of his eye mishap I stepped in and talked with the principal about enrolling Claire in school. I was extremely relieved to hear that she felt the same as I do which is that Claire would be better served in the same school as her siblings instead of a different school receiving English learning classes. She will be required to take an assessment exam before enrolling in which the committee will most likely recommend that she be enrolled at a different school but the principal informed me today that it is ultimately our decision. I had put off meeting with her because I was worried about resistance to what we'd like for Claire so this is a huge relief. She was certain that immersing Claire straight into the classroom would be beneficial and that any kindergarten teacher would be very accepting of the challenge.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Wow, we got our I-800 approval quick! I've paid attention to other adoptive parent's timelines and it is usually about a month from LOA to I-800 approval. We got our approval on the 13th, so we were approved only 2 1/2 weeks after I sent the application. We have a wonderful immigration officer who emailed me the scanned copy of our approval so I could FedEx it to the agency that day instead of waiting for the hard copy to come in the mail and making a copy.

I sent our LOA package to the agency last week and they will be receiving it today. The package contains our original, signed LOA, Claire's US visa paperwork and fee, our travel requests and the copy of our I-800 approval. I also gathered some items to send to Claire and sent the care package with the paperwork for our agency to forward onto the orphanage.

Claire's care package included a letter to the director and nannies (in English and Mandarin), a photo album for Claire with pictures of all of us and a little story book I made for her to explain what is about to happen. I made it very simple with pictures and translated the words to Mandarin. Claire will be celebrating her 7th birthday before we are able to bring her home so we sent a birthday card that I also translated into Mandarin for her. We found the perfect card for her- a Hello Kitty 7th birthday card! We also included two bags of Jelly Bellies and I picked up a disposable camera as well. Hopefully they will take pictures with it so we have some pictures to save for Claire.

It is almost becoming surreal that in about two months this journey to Claire will end and our new journey as a family with Claire will begin. To say I'm nervous is an understatement. What if she hates us? What if she was truly happy in China with her foster family and resents us for bringing her here? While we are over the moon about having a new daughter we will most likely not be met with the same enthusiasm. We've talked about this for years and now we are almost to the end but we are in need of your prayers now more than ever. I often return to Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God. This journey is bigger than us and is orchestrated by way more than the paperwork I fill out and file. This is God's journey and I try to remember to be still and let him lead the way.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Update since LOA

What does one do after receiving LOA? Well, I'm so glad you asked!
First, you freak out, squeal with delight, call everyone you know and squeal in their ear and that signals to them that you must have received your LOA, you go our for a celebratory dinner and then...
You start the paperwork all over again.

We received our LOA package from our agency this next day and wow, what a beautiful piece of paper! It is so cool to look at a document that came straight from China- with our names on it!
Thankfully, I had started the next round of paperwork a couple weeks prior because I knew we were going to be busy starting orthodontics on the boys, field trips and of course the obligatory swine flu that showed up.

We sent out our I-800 to USCIS on Wednesday. The I-800A we applied for earlier was to approve us to adopt an orphan from China. Now we file the I-800 which we will approve us to specifically adopt Claire. USCIS received it the next morning so now we just wait for the approval.

We also sent out visa applications to a courier in Chicago who will walk our application and passports into the Chinese Consulate. We will get those back next week.

We filled out the US visa application for Claire and will send that to our agency with the signed LOA and a copy of I-800 approval when it arrives.

And, we have sat down and figured out the finances; something about traveling in 2 months sets off panic about financing the rest of the journey. I will be listing several crocheted hats for sale on my other blog to help us with this. We sold about 15 hats at our yard sale and everyone just loved them. I will put a link to my other blog here once I post them but for now, here is a preview.