Thursday, December 31, 2009

Soon, soon, soon!

Today 2009 comes to an end and way back in May I thought we'd be spending it with family and introducing our newest daughter to people who have long awaited to meet her. We all know that is not how it has gone. Despite this disappointment I am truly at peace with sitting on the couch catching up on my blogs while I listen to Back to the Future blast from the TV downstairs and smile at the occasional giggles I hear from my three children and husband.

We have waited a full three weeks since our Article 5 was signed at the US consulate in Guangzhou. And while I really hoped to get a phone call this week from our agency announcing that our travel approval (TA) had arrived I really braced myself that the phone call would most likely not come until next week.

I have heard through the grapevine that our agency is hoping they receive a big batch of TAs next week. Another agency has been informed that a package is on its way to them containing a good number of TAs so I've got my fingers crossed that the same is true for our agency.

The last travel group to leave before Chinese New Year will be on Jan. 27th. That means we must receive our TA by the 2nd week of January to travel with this group. If that doesn't happen we will have to wait until mid-February to travel.

In the meantime, we have done a trial pack with our suitcases to check the weight. We are only allowed 44 lbs of checked baggage for each of us while in China. I thought that would be a hard requirement to meet but it might not be so difficult after all. Claire's suitcase is completely packed and sitting in our bedroom, just waiting for the call.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Last rung on the ladder

I should be happy, really, I should. We have finally reached the last rung of the TA ladder.
Rung 1: I800 approval
Rung 2: NVC cable of that approval to Guangzhou
Rung 3: Cable and agency paperwork marry and the consulate issues the Article 5 and it is then delivered to the CCAA.
Rung 4: Travel approval

So, we've gotten all the way up to the travel approval, one last step until we book plane tickets to China.
So, why am I not happy like I should be?

Because the process that was moving quite fast has slowed down and of course, I have no control over it. One family with identical stats gets their Article 5 in five days, we waited 19. When our Article 5 should have been at the CCAA last week it was instead delivered today. My hopes of getting our travel approval before Christmas and traveling right after the new year looks just about hopeless. If current trends hold true we will be receiving our travel approval the first or second week of January and our agency told me today that they like to have families travel three weeks later. That puts us into the first week of February.
Chinese New Year is on February 14th this year. Travel is basically non-existent at that time due to skyrocketed airline tickets and everything being closed for 5 days. You can't start or end a trip during those 5 days. You see where this is leading? We couldn't have the end of our trip fall during Chinese New Year, so an early February travel date is just about hopeless as well.

Just another day of deflated hope around here. This too shall pass.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Today she turned 7

Back in May when we submitted a letter of intent to adopt Claire we never intended that she would still be in China on her birthday, never imagined that she'd still be there by Christmas or even fathomed we'd begin 2010 without our sweet girl snuggled safely in our bed. But, as the paperwork process had proven yet again, this process is cruelly unfair, simply because there aren't any rules or timelines.

But, as life would have it, Claire celebrated her 7th birthday in China this year. Her orphanage will not allow a cake delivery so we can only hope the staff made an effort to make her day a bit more special. Here at home we ordered Chinese food and enjoyed 7 cupcakes in her honor. We made a video singing her happy birthday and making our birthday wishes for her.

And we know that the next birthday Claire celebrates she will be surrounded by a forever family that will be there for every birthday thereafter.