Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mixing up a "1" and a "0" Adoption Update!

Our lives have been rocked and awed by God in the last 24 hours. Panic, worry, peace, and joy... we have felt it all. 

BUT first I should back up a step.  Last Tuesday (10-20) we got a wonderful from our case manager at USCIS/National Benefit Center (NBC) saying that our I-800 had been approved.  We received a hard copy at our home on Friday and were very thankful to have made it to another milestone in this adoption. 

We began pestering the National Visa Center (NVC) on Sunday night hoping to get an email that we had a "GUZ number" and then a "PDF" that our paperwork had been cabled to China. On Monday we learned that we had a GUZ number and yesterday (Tuesday 10-27) we got the great news that our paperwork had been cabled to China.  Wow!  The first stage of the process that appeared to go exactly like clockwork. 

Sadly, it wasn't exactly perfect.  About the same time we received the PDF email our caseworker at our agency called us and emailed us and informed us that all was not perfect in our adoption paperwork.  Apparently our I-800 had a mistake.  I-800's can't have mistakes.  We didn't notice it because it was such an obvious mistake that we didn't see it.  Our daughter's birth year was listed as 2102... not 2012.  Two mixed up numbers... Our hearts were crushed.  Had we noticed it several days earlier the NBC could have sent it to the NVC with little worry.  However, our documents were already sent to China. I know this sounds like such a tiny thing that we shouldn't even care, but in Intl adoption, tiny is HUGE.

Thanks to an incredible agency, before we even knew what was going on our case worker contacted the NBC and had them issue a new copy of the 800 to the NVC (electronic) and a paper copy to us and to our agency.  I then emailed the NVC informing them that an email would be coming and that they should look for it and did they need anything else.  This morning we received a vague email back and didn't really know what it meant.  Then we sent another email and this time we got the response we were looking for.  All has been fixed.  The NVC sent the updated document to China.  Thank you God! 

So where are we now?
Well, amazingly our Article 5 was able to be dropped off today and is scheduled to be picked up on December 12th.  12/12/12 will be an easy date to remember. This is great news!  If you are looking at the adoption timeline on the left sidebar you will notice that there are not many steps left after Article 5 pick up!!!! 

The next step after pick up is TRAVEL APPROVAL!!!!!  We are so excited to be at this point. 
 Hopefully we will be issued TA in 2012 and we will be able to travel in January of 2013!!!

Why the last 24 hours was so stressful and... great:
The last 24 hours were made extra stressful as I was battling a nasty stomach bug and head cold.  I am pretty sure hummus that sat out too long was to be blamed.  M also has a cold.  We don't have internet at home (until the 3oth) so all the checking on emails etc had to be done at church.  Feeling sicky and out of sorts and running back and forth to church (and the bathroom:) didn't make for a fun day.

The timeline also made things extra stressful.  It is critical to get TA on Christmas week or before if we want to travel at our desired time in January.  Chinese New Year is on February 10th, but everything in China gets a little crazy for weeks before it and after it.  If we don't get to travel in January we won't get to until late February or even March.  Also the airfare SKYROCKETS before/during/and after Chinese New Year.

BUT God is faithful!  I am so thankful for all the hardships of the last 24 hours because it has surely reminded us Who is in control.  We have had to relinquish control over and over again.  We have prayed as a family.  We have asked for pray from those near to us.  We have seen God show up in every single area.  We feel humbled and blessed and so filled with joy.  God surely is in the details friends! 

As we move forward we continue to covet your prayers.  We are requesting if it be God's Will that we would get our TA and CA before Christmas.  We believe it is able to happen and we trust that even if it doesn't God is faithful.  We are praying some Faith Like Potatoes prayers here friends.  Thank you for being a part of our journey. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fall Festival 2012

This is not so much a "Halloween Post" as it is one filled with my adorable son dressed like a puppy.  There are also several photos of his best buddy L dressed as a lion.  Our town has a festival on a Saturday morning before Halloween where venders selling everything from veggies to candles to make-up set up down town and hand out candy to little kids all dressed up.  It was cold but the boys loved it.  They also got to go on a wagon ride. 

One Lion and one Puppy ready to go!
Checking out the tails.

Bring on the candy!

I liked the wagon ride with real horses. 

I really liked the horses, but they were really big so I not get too close.

Also, I a big helper raking leaves with Daddy.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How to carve a pumpkin:

Ever since our day at the pumpkin patch M was very excited to carve his pumpkin just like the farmer in the book "The Pumpkin Patch Parable." We didn't realize how literal he was about the whole thing until he insisted on getting dressed like a farmer.  I guess he thought his snow pants looked like overalls.  He also insisted on wearing his cap.  Both my farmer grandpas like caps so that warmed my heart.  We had a great night and made special memories as a family.  What a treasure for the three of us.  M was the perfect age to be introduced to this fun activity. 

"Turst," you read the pumpkin book and dress like a farmer.
Do you like my farmer clothes?

Then you draw on the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Daddy cut around the top, now we can lift it off.  I REALLY excited.

I lifted it  off by myself. 

Next we cleaned out the seeds.  Then Daddy carved out the face and I sang songs to entertain him.

Then we put in the candle and lit it.  We could see the face glowing.

I blew out the candle all by myself.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Picking out a Pumpkin

My parents were able to come to our home for a long weekend in October.  We had a great time doing many things, but M really really liked the pumpkin farm!  The tractor ride to the patch was by far his favorite part. 
Come on farmer we are ready for a ride.

Look at all these pumpkins!

Awww, I like them!

Mommy told me to smile.

Then Grandpa made me laugh.

My family.

What?  Mommy told me to bend down in the pumpkins. 

She liked this better.

"Clap, clap, clap your hands as slowly as you can"

"Clap, clap, clap your hands as fast as you can."

I not believe it, I a scarecrow.  We read book about scarecrow, now I in real one.

How does this pumpkin one work.

Oh, like this.
I really like it when Grandpa Daryl reads to me.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Robes and Cooking

My favorite robe and mode of transportation.

Saturday morning pancakes with maple syrup with mommy. 

I a good cooker.

Remember, you must be careful when you use this.

I look handsome in my robe.

I do this, I look taller.

Mommy told me to smile.  (Gotta love the classic fake smile)

Friday, November 2, 2012


Wow God!!!!!!!  Each day I would ask Him what His plan was for our adoption and if we would hear soon and sometimes I asked him if we were still surely in the process as it all seemed so silent.  Well, on October 31st we received our Letter Of Acceptance or Letter Seeking Confirmation.  Thanks be to God!!!!!   I know He heard every prayer and surely we will see one day that his timing was perfect. We had been waiting 92 days for the beautiful voice of our case worker on the other end of the phone.  Since I am still living in the early 90's when it comes to technology she was calling us on our land line without caller ID so I had to endure through seemingly 100's of political calls while waiting for "THE CALL." I was actually putting M down for his nap when the call came in.  I didn't hear it, but listened to a message that simply told me to call our agency.  Honestly, while I deeply hoped that the LOA was the news my heart was beating so rapidly thinking that maybe YQ was ill or something was wrong with our documents.  My fears were gone instantly when we learned of the good news. 

After crying for a minute with our case worker and trying to listen to "next steps" while jumping up and down I called Brandon.  He quickly printed off a copy of the LOA and brought it home.  We both signed it and scanned it and sent it right back to our agency.  Within minutes or getting the news our LOA along with our 800 application were in the mail on the way to the USCIS lockbox.  How thrilling!   So thankful that our agency does this as it shaves a day or two off of our wait... and every day counts.

So, what is next?  Well, to be honest... it is all a little confusing for me right now.  I will tell you what I have been told, but for other adoptive families reading this don't take my word for the accuracy of the following steps :)

1. Get 800 approval from the USCIS
2. 800 approval sent to National VISA Center (NVC)
3. NVC issues a letter
4. NVC letter Cabled to China
5. Article 5 drop off
6. Article 5 pick up
7. Travel approval
8. Schedule a consulate appointment
9. GO TO CHINA!!!!

Sadly, even within these nine steps are many other smaller steps.  The good news is that steps 1-6 are typically completed in about 6 weeks.  Step 7 is very unpredictable with a range of time from 1-4 weeks. Step 8 takes only a few days to schedule.  Many families travel just a week or two after scheduling their consulate appointment. 

So, what does this actually mean, right?  Well, we are hoping to travel in early January!!!!

In other exciting news, we requested a update on YQ just last week and we already got a response.  Not only did we get a small response to some of our questions, we also got 3 new photos!  This is such a huge answer to prayer and we were prepared to wait a long time or to not get any at all. 

I am sorry to say that we are again not sharing any photos of our daughter until she is in our arms, but if you see us you can stop us and ask to see the new photos!  

Here is a little news about our daughter at 81/2 months:
She weighs 15 pounds
She is 26 inches long.
Her head circumference is 16.14inches.

She is also apparently only sleeping 9 hours a night... yikes.  Please join us in praying for a super sleeper.  

In case you were wondering how this compares to big brother... at 9 months:
M weighed 11 pounds.
M was 23'6" inches
M's head circ was 16.7

God loves adoption!!!! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Jesus, You put music in my soul!

A few years ago there was a song that we sang in church that had the title of this post in the chorus.  M is always singing praises to the Lord. Have you ever watched a musical and thought about how random and out of the blue the songs come up.  I have often thought it seems totally unrealistic... then I met M.  He belts out tunes whatever he is doing.  Life (or any surface) is a stage!  He tries to include his friends whenever possible.  You can tell in many of these shots that he spends time studying "the look" of the real guys by the way he stands and when he wears.
L likes his hat and I like my Etar, we on a stage.
I setting up for concert of prayer.

I the band.  I sing.  I play. I play and sing.

Sound check.

It was a good concert.