WE GOT TA!!!!!!!!

June 26th, 2010

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You can tell by the exclamation marks that we’re excited about the call we got today!!!  We won’t have concrete travel dates until next week, but pray for SOON!

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These pictures are anticlimactic after that news, but you can see that our garden is doing well.  The peas have really thrived in our cool, wet spring.  Look at 2009 and 2008 for comparison.

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The birds seem to be thriving, too.  A few weeks ago we missed seeing the hatching of about 15 quail eggs that we’d been keeping an eye on.  These three didn’t hatch and were left in the nest under the bush.  We’re now keeping an eye on another mother quail setting on a nest under the lawn mower!  I still mow.  She just sits there very still until I gently place the mower back over her!  It’s been nearly three weeks, so they should hatch out soon.

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We’re still enjoying our (almost) weekly hikes.  On this particular day we grew about two inches and gained about two pounds from all the sticky mud we collected on the bottoms of our shoes.  This little frog seemed to enjoy the puddles left by the rain, though.

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If you think that we girls are the only ones that have fun, here’s proof that Warren also goes out to play from time to time.

Wmoto

He was so impressed by the views that he took Miah and I to the same area one weeknight for a picnic supper date.  We took the jeep this time.

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It’s great having a sister (Tish) who knows all the good hiking places to visit, whether long, or short, near or far.  This is an old cemetery, tucked back in the hills, probably near an old homestead.

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Miah adores both her aunts.  Notice that Nancy has become her hiking buddy.  Just think, Miah, you’ll soon be hiking on the Great Wall of your birth country!

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What Does It Take? (part 3)

June 24th, 2010

family2010

The second WAIT begins at referral time.  It is the hardest because we now know who our child is, and we want to bring her home immediately!  When we adopted Miah, pre-Hague, there were fewer steps, and a shorter wait.  We got our referral call (the CC*AA matched us with our daughter).  The next day we received the referral paperwork, which of course we accepted, signed the documents and immediately returned to our Agency to return to China.  Here was our post about it.  Upon receipt of our signed documents, China issued our TA (travel approval) which we received about one month later, and we were then given travel dates by our agency for about one month after that!  [Basically, once we have TA, we travel with the next group that our agency is sending to China, once they have verified the availability of CAs (Consulate Appointments, to take place in China), and made those appointments].  It was a two month wait, from Referral (3/05/07) to Travel (5/03/07).

Ami’s wait has been longer, not only because of the new steps to go through because of the Hague implementation, but also because she was on the WC list.  (But, in all honesty, six months after referral is not a long wait compared to the waiting of some people I know who have adopted from other countries.  Well, yes, it is a long wait, but it’s all a matter of perspective.)  We received Ami’s referral call 2/11/10.  Unlike Miah’s referral where our Dossier had already been reviewed, approved, and matched with Miah’s file, Ami’s file was simply “locked-in” for us by our agency, for a period of 48 hours, (actually much less) in which time we reviewed it with a doctor, chose to accept it, and submitted an EA (Electronic Acceptance) including our LOI (Letter of Intent).  At that point we waited for our PA (Pre-approval), which is an acceptance of our LOI.  We received this 3/05/10.  The next step was to receive our RA/LOA (Referral Acceptance/Letter of Approval) which means they have reviewed and approved our Dossier and the match with our daughter.  We received this official approval 3/22/10, signed it, and returned it right away (similar to Miah’s referral acceptance).  At this point our referral was official and we were allowed to show Ami’s photo, share her information, and send her a care package.

But wait . . . there was much more happening during the month and a half from February 11 to March 22.  Our immigration approvals needed for our Dossier are only good for 15 months.  They were set to expire in May, most likely before we would travel.  So . . . we had to update our Home Study.  This meant a meeting with our SW (unfortunately we met her near her office in Seattle, rather than our home, so we wouldn’t have to pay additional travel expenses*more on that later), and submitting the following updated documents:  Duty of Candor, State background checks, Financial statement, Statement of monthly expenses, Updated 1040, International Adoption Statement, New Employment letter, Medical reports for each of us.  The Home Study was finally completed 3/15 (after delays in getting our medical forms), and then we had to wait for our agency’s approval and a Hague approval letter from them (that was somehow delayed several days), so we could submit our I-800*A renewal to US*CIS.  (Sent 3/27.)  At that point we would wait for our fingerprint appointment and when that’s completed, be issued a new I-797*C approval.  We were hoping to have all this done before receiving our LOA, but that didn’t happen.

So what happens when you receive LOA?  Sign and return Letter Seeking Confirmation.  Complete last two hours of Hague training.  Submit DS*230 form to agency (to submit to US consulate in China).  Submit I-800 to US*CIS, including:  Cover letter, I-800, Supplement 1, I-864W, Copy of I-797C, Copy of Hague training certificate, Agency’s training certificate, Letter from Agency, Copy of Child’s Chinese referral, Copy of Child’s translated referral, copy of RA.  All this was done the week of 3/22 -3/27.

Thankfully we found out we could submit our I-800*A renewal and I-800 together, and they could begin processing the I-800 while we waited on the renewal.  We finally got our fingerprint appointment date on 4/19 (set for 4/29 in Spokane).  4/20 – I contacted our US*CIS service officer (in TX) to ask if we could go early.  She said there were no guarantees for walk-ins; it was up to us.  She also said that although our I-800 hadn’t reached her desk yet, she could see that it was in the system.  (So all my worries about not getting our renewal submitted earlier were for naught.  There had been no further delay.)  We took a chance and drove to Spokane 4/21, and although we had to wait, we were able to have our biometrics taken early, whew!  I contacted our US*CIS officer that it was completed.  On 4/22 I receive an email from US*CIS that a Home Visit was required when updating our Home Study (*see paragraph 3).  Evidently, Immigration is becoming more stringent in their approvals.  A flurry of emails and phone calls later, (unfortunately combined with a little stress, worry, and blame happening on my part) and our Social Worker came from Seattle that day to complete the Home Visit and get the HS addendum processed and emailed to US*CIS the next day.  Come to find out others were getting this same request for evidence.  A change in Hague rules.  No one to blame.  Our agency, SW, and Immigration officer were all so gracious, so although we hadn’t saved on travel expenses, we were issued our I-800 approval on 4/27 – no significant delay.

After receiving our I-800 Provisional Approval (I-797), we waited for our NVC (National Visa Center) letter.  <This all pertains to Ami being allowed to immigrate to the US.>  We received this 5/10, and saw that Guangzhou had been cabled 5/05.  We scanned the NVC letter and emailed it to our agency, who forwarded it to their staff in Guangzhou, who took it (along with other documents we’d already sent) to the U.S. Consulate – this can only be submitted on Mondays and Thursdays.  So ours was submitted 5/13, and our Article 5 (notice to the adoption authority that child appears eligible to immigrate to the US) was picked up two weeks later, 5/27, and sent to the CC*AA in Beijing.

This is the wait we are currently in.  The estimated time frame is 3-5 weeks, though some have waited longer, and others less.  Evidently, the matching office records the paperwork and forwards it to the registration office.  The head director signs the final approval and issues our TA/”Notice of Coming to China for Adopton”.  Once our agency receives our TA, they schedule our CA (Consulate appointment, subject to availability, M-W only) and we travel with the next leaving travel group (usually 2-4 weeks).  During this time we have also submitted applications for getting our travel visas.  We can’t make airline reservations until we know our CA and have concrete travel dates.

Sorry this is so long, but people are always asking me questions about the process, so this should help explain what is going on, and why the wait is so long.  As I read over it I’m reminded why I’ve been so busy the past few months!  Add to that, all my reading up on CL/CP and what to expect there.  But it is all so worth it once we are home with our little one and she has had time to transition to her new life – in a family.

family2010JS

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Happy Dad’s Day

June 20th, 2010

D11b&w

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!  Thanks for being such a super Dad!  From helping me text on your phone ↓, to your yummy Sunday morning breakfasts, to our frequent Mountain excursions, you’re simply the Greatest!  (And thank you, Jackie, for the great photos ↑.)

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I asked Miah what she wanted to get Daddy for Father’s Day, and she said, “Flowers.”  So she picked out a rose bush with pink blooms that Daddy will get to plant.  Happy Father’s Day to you, too, Papa!

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Posted in Family, Life, Miah | 1 Comment »

Little Blessings

June 19th, 2010

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Miah was very excited to have her friend ↓ come visit and to meet her new little sister who we have been praying for.

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Although these little ladybugs are small in stature, they make up for it in energy!

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And they enjoy cooking up a pot of stew as much as Miah does.  Or is that strawberry tea?  (-one of Miah’s favorite concoctions, along with M&M tea and hot dog stew.  Hmm…)

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Thank you, Teresa and family, for the delightful evening!  I needed a good distraction as we await our TA (Travel Approval).  It has now been 3 weeks since our Article 5, so we’re really hoping for news next week.  Unfortunately I’ve read rumors that all the CAs (Consulate Appointments) are booked up to latter July, so even with our TA we may not be able to travel when we had hoped.  Sigh…  And as I feel discouraged, I read K-Love’s verse for the day:  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  ~ Philippians 4:6, NLT  Yes, Lord, thank you SO much!  We are abundantly blessed, and this text was JUST what I needed to hear this morning.

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What Does It Take? (part 2)

June 10th, 2010

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THE WAIT actually has two parts:  from LID to Referral, and from Referral to travel.

Our LID for Miah was 10/24/2005 and we received her referral on 3/05/2007.  It ended up being a 16 month wait.  China gives “healthy” referrals in the order of LID.  Everyone waits their turn and it seems fair and predictable.  (The most recent batch <this month> of “healthy” referrals from China were for LIDs 4/22/2006 – 4/26/2006.  A 49 month <4 year> wait.)

For Ami’s adoption, our LID was 3/19/2009.  But then we signed the WC (Waiting Child) application in late September.  Although still through China, this is a different program, so referrals are not issued in the same manner.  We accepted Ami’s referral 2/12/2010.  An 11 month wait since our LID, but less than a five month wait since joining the WC program.  Up to this point was the first wait.  Next comes the more difficult wait.

We have written a more detailed version of our wait.  We’re just not comfortable sharing it publicly.  If anyone is interested in reading it, we’d be happy to email it to you.

BTW, Rubén, Miah says “Gracias” for the hat/scarf/mittens!

new hat

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