Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Five Letter Word

Sometime last year, Rodney did something that he thought would be so funny. He said, “Girls, I’m gonna whisper a five letter word in your Mom’s ear, and you’re going to see her hit the ceiling.” I, being a completely rational, calm person, said “No way. Bring it on.” I leaned back against the banister and challenged him to go for it, because there just isn’t any five letter word in the English language that’s going to upset me. Pshaw!

You should have seen that gloating look in his eyes. Yep. He got me.

It’s funny how it worked out though. Over the course of the rest of the year, there were times when I thought, “Yeah, I DO feel like God is calling us to adopt again and I think we can do this,” but Rodney would be the one with cold feet. Then we’d flip-flop and he would think it was a good idea and I would be back to thinking No Way! Then one day in January, we were talking with our dear friends and the conversation came up about us adopting again, and somehow… SOMEHOW we were both on the same page at the same time and we both said YES!

It’s so amazing to look back and see God’s hand in all of this. We worked as fast as we possibly could to get our homestudy done and our dossier put together so we could send it off to China. I truly don’t think I could have done it any faster. So, by the time we sent it to China and it was logged in, the first available list we could receive a referral from was the June 21st “midnight” list. The one our daughter was on. I’ve been told that our agency probably locked her file in the first 15 seconds or so of it coming out. (Just another reason I love WACAP so much!) I have no doubt God worked it all out in His perfect timing, preparing our hearts, ironing out the details, making everything come together just right so that we would be matched with HER. Cuz’ you know, He’s just that good.

It’s not uncommon for people to ask us why we would want to adopt again. I mean, five kids is a lot even in America these days. Depending on who we’re talking to, we may give a brief answer, or we may take the time to share our faith and explain to them how we truly believe each of the children God has blessed us with – whether by birth, or thru the amazing process of adoption – is a gift from Him. In honor of our 5th child, Rodney thought this would be a fun way to express our belief.

Of course, people will either get it or they won’t. But we get it. And love it!

Psalms 127: 4-5
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Waiting on our TA

Is Day 2 of our wait too soon to start getting my hopes up??? OK, I know, I know.  The average is 2-3 weeks for the CCAA to issue Travel Approvals, but a girl can dream, huh? Our Article 5 was picked up yesterday from the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou and express mailed to Beijing and I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping and praying that it doesn't take more than two weeks to get here! I guess I'd better try to be a little more realistic about my dreams though, huh?

Big Sophia is so good to keep me updated on our little Sophia and sent these sweet pictures this week. Our girl loves balloons, which is good to know because I'm hoping to get my hands on one that morning before we get to the Civil Affairs office to meet her for the first time. (Anything to make it less stressful and hopefully help her to want to come with us!)

I'm not diggin' the haircut, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing her laughing like this!

This is Windee, one of the cleft babies at Starfish that Sophia loves to kiss and love on.

As long as we get our Travel Approval in time to make all the arrangements and reservations needed, (and of course get the Consulate Appointment on the date we're hoping for) we plan on leaving the day before Thanksgiving, which is only FIVE weeks from tomorrow. So, so exciting!!!

Till next time,

Friday, October 15, 2010

An Update on the Tiny Tab fiasco

This morning I received a very nice email from the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou. They told me they have indeed received all our documents, are processing our Article 5, and have already contacted our agency representatives to have them pick it up on Monday.

Whew!!! So glad to have this behind us!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

All because of a tiny little tab

Tuesday afternoon I got an email from my case worker. The subject was "Consulate Situation" and since we were expecting to have our Article 5 picked up this week from the Consulate, a "situation" didn't sound very good. It wasn't. Apparently, they had not received all our documents and weren't able to process our file. (Never mind the fact that our file was cabled to them from the National Visa Center (NVC) on 9/23 and no one noticed it was incomplete.) I called NVC immediately, (immediately, considering they are notorious for making you wait 30+ minutes on hold before you actually speak to a human being) and found out they had only received 12 pages from USCIS (NBC). I could hardly sleep that night for fear of what had happened. Had all our documents been lost? Was it going to require coming up with new ones and having to snail mail them somewhere? If that's the case, there's no way we'd get Sophia by the end of the year... thus, the sleepless night.

I was up by 6:00 am yesterday morning and on the phone with our I800 officer and her manager. (They're 2 hours ahead of me and I called as soon as they opened!) They did some research, called me back an hour later and told me what had happened. Apparently, when our file had been approved back on 9/10, someone placed the tab in the wrong place to indicate which papers in our file were to be sent to NVC, so only 12 were sent. (Never mind the fact that in all the years our officer has worked there, she's never seen a file only 12 pages long and wondered along with me why no one at the NVC paid any attention to that detail.) The good news was, they had all the documents there and she promised me she would get it taken care of that day. Five hours later, that sweet woman called to tell me she finally had them all scanned in and figured out how to break it into five, zipped emails to send to the directly to the consulate and to the NVC. They don't have high speed scanners there, or the ability to send large files, so this was a big deal for her to do, but since it was obviously their fault, she did it for me.

So, the Consulate had it in their system by the time they got to work Thursday morning and after another restless night and hoping against all hope that they would still process our file and have our Article 5 ready for pickup as scheduled, since they only allow pickups on Monday's and Thursday's, I called my case worker this morning to find out what the "situation" is now. Our agency reps went to pick up papers this morning and hopefully get ours. Did they? Are you ready for this???... NOPE. And no explanation of when it will be.

What's wrong with these people??? Don't they know this little Princess is waiting on us to come get her???

Monday's a comin' though (seems like I've said that a time or two in this waiting game...) and hopefully it will be ready for pickup. And THEN, we'll begin our official wait for our travel approval. But for now, we continue to wait for something we should already have. All because of a tiny little tab.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

This Week....

...we'll begin our wait for the very last approval on this long journey we're on. Our Article 5 gets picked up from the U.S. Consulate on Thursday, and will be sent overnight to the CCAA. We're praying they'll get our Travel Approval (TA) processed within 2 weeks, so by the end of October we will hopefully know when our travel dates will be. We are SO excited to be getting this close and are counting down the weeks until we can go get our sweet girl!

Our list of things to do before we go is suddenly a mile long. (You'd think with all the time we've had to get ready, it wouldn't be, but there's only so much we can do months in advance!) Not to mention, if we get the travel dates we are hoping for, we should be getting back from China just before Christmas, so we're trying to get all our Christmas shopping done before we go too. We always get the kids new pajamas for Christmas Eve and I found the cutest little pj's for Sophia yesterday. I also bought her Christmas dress... now we just need our little Christmas birthday girl here and we'll be set! I finished her crib bedding today and hope to put the finishing touches on her room this week that she'll be sharing with Olivia, so things are coming together. Now if I can just get those dozen or so freezer dinners done for when we get back so I can cross that off my list too!

For those of you who are praying for our little one, we do have a very specific prayer request for you. Gotcha Day is a very stressful time for many children, and Sophia is at an age where stranger anxiety makes it even harder. Often times, the children cry for days and have a very hard time accepting their new parents. We are praying that God will prepare Sophia's heart to come with us. We know she will be very scared and she will be taken from every thing and everyone she's ever known. Please join us in praying that she will come to us with a trusting heart and not feel as if she's been abandoned by those she is comfortable with or that we're kidnapping her (which to them is essentially what's happened). We were able to Skype with Sophia again this week. We're hoping that these little bits of contact and the pictures she has of us will help prepare her a little bit.

Here are a few pictures big Sophia sent us this week. She was able to spend quite a bit of time with our Sophia this week while she was on vacation.

This is Sophia's sweet husband carrying Sophia on his back.

Till next time,