Monday, May 25, 2009

Thank You

I just want to take a moment to thank all the men and women (especially my brother and sister) who have served this nation. Your sacrifice is not taken lightly. We thank God for your willingness to serve and protect our freedoms.

This was taken at our neighbor's home after Hurricane Charlie in 2004.

Friday, May 22, 2009

So much drama!

I'm not even gonna run down all the drama of late, but let's just say...WHEW! It's all worked out now...all the paperwork is in China, and we're good to go!

I know it's really lame to not be able to see any photos, but I don't think I'm able to post any just yet, but seeing as how we're leaving for China in 9 DAYS, you'll be seeing the kids soon enough :)

Bo is back from his two weeks on the road, and now it's time to ready the rooms (which we're shuffling a bit) for our new additions. We have this three day weekend, and then Carissa and Nathan will be flying in. We wanted her to come a little early to get a feel for the area, as well as allow Annie and Ellie to get reacquainted with her.

Our tickets over and back are booked, and our in-country itinerary is being worked out now. We are getting so excited, but with it is trepidation, knowing how difficult the coming weeks and months are going to be. But, it's all worth it, and we can't wait to bring our kids home!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mary's at it, too!

Whatever talents I may (and I use may very loosely) possess when it comes to sewing, Mary far surpasses. She bought this pack of fat quarters, and wanted to make a purse out of it. She couldn't find any tutorials that I've saved that she liked, so she decided to make it up as she went. With very little input from me, she created this little, lined purse. She's awesome!

Fat Minnie looking on.

Christy's Craft Challenge

A while back,before the craziness of late, I had entered some of my sewing projects in a contest on a site called Crafty Nation, and won a free month's subscription to Christy Nelson's Craft Challenge. Basically, Christy sends you a package containing different items, and you have to come up with something out of those items. You can add your own items to what you make, but you must use each component that was sent.

This month's featured floral scrapbook paper, blue fabric, silk flowers and leaves, floral wire, buttons, and hmmmm....I think that was everything. (Sorry, posting about a week after I made mine.) Anyways, I immediately saw a purse with a paper doll set.

Here's Ellie enjoying her new toy.

And Annie asked me, "Is it magical?"
That's all I need to hear! No matter what, if that's her reaction to it, I'd say I already won.

Quick Update

Our paperwork arrived at NVC on Tuesday, May 19! Now, it just has to get sent to the consulate in Guangzhou, then on to the CCAA so they can issue our Travel Approval!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Amazingly Good News!

On Thursday, I called NBC to see if our paperwork had been released from the lockbox and sent on to them, and was told that they still did not have it. Then woke up Friday to find that not only had NBC received it, but we got our I800 Provisional Approval!!!!!

I know all these terms and such make no sense outside of the adoption community, but let me assure you, this was GREAT news! At this point, NBC (National Benefits Center) will forward our approval on to NVC (I don't even know what this one stands for) and then they will do their thing with it (probably stamp it or something). They will then forward it to the consulate in Guangzhou, who will stamp it, I guess, and then it will be forwarded to the CCAA (Chinese Center for Adoptive Affairs), at which point, we can receive TA! (Ooops, yet another acronym. That one stands for Travel Approval :) Still a few more hurdles to jump, but on Thursday, upon hearing NBC didn't even have our paperwork, we thought that their was no way this would all get done in order for us to be on a plane by June 1st. Now...we're feeling very hopeful.

The hardest part for us in this, is knowing full well that God is sovereign over all this. It's hard to think that it could possibly be in God's plan for XiaoMei to *not* come home and join our family, but we trust in His perfect Word. Thank you to those who have been praying for us. We are so grateful for your friendship.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Why I Miss Florida

'Nuff said.

Some More Sewing Projects

Before putting away my sewing machine to work on some other necessary projects, I managed to finish a few more items that I've been working on.

These are dresses I made for Annie and Ellie out of fabric I got at a thrift store for about $3 total. They love 'em, and I think they're cute as can be! I can't find the link at the moment, but rest assured. Someone more talented than I came up with the idea.

Here is the purse I made for both my mom and mother-in-law for a combo birthday/Mother's Day gift. I used this tutorial and then made this make-up pouch to match, using this tute.

I still haven't used a pattern for anything I've made. One of these days, I'll learn how to sew, for real, but for now I manage to make do well enough.

Nothing new to post on the adoption front. I'll be keeping y'all posted.


The new adoption laws have really messed things up. Sorry, but it's true. See, the Hague laws went into effect; these laws which are supposed to help children. So far, it has just seemed to slow things down, if not altogether deter parents from even going through the process altogether. We were at the stage of sending in our I800 when I last posted. Well, the part I didn't understand was that this next batch of paperwork *must* go to a lockbox first. (That's right. Lockbox. And if all you can picture is Al Gore, you're not alone.) Anyways, my agency talked to NBC (not the tv station, it's the US's agency that handles all the paperwork for adoptions) to see if it were possible, considering our tenuous situation, to skip or expedite the lockbox step.

Guess what. It's not actually run by a government agency. See, it's contracted out to union workers. They're only permitted to work a certain number of hours, and no one is allowed to call them to explain why it's so critical that ours be sent through. They say that the lockbox wait is currently one to two weeks before they send your paperwork to NBC (no...they don't actually do anything with it...just hold onto it for a while.) From others reports lately though, it looks as if it's more like two to three weeks. If that is the case, we will not have time to get Kara Xiao Mei's paperwork through everything it needs to get through for us to adopt her before she ages out.

Somehow, this new process just doesn't seem like it truly has the best interests of children at heart. Seems like bureaucracy to

Sorry for this rant. I've just moved from jubilant, to sad, to ticked in a very short period of time and it's all coming out here, unfortunately. I plan to call NBC tomorrow or Wednesday...just to see if maybe, just maybe, they have received our paperwork.

Monday, May 4, 2009

We have names!

Still can't post pictures, however, I think it's okay to share the names we have chosen.

Our daughter will be Kara XiaoMei and our son will be Ross YunLong.

I know it's not much, but I should have some pretty regular updates from here on out. We are going to send a care package out to Ross later this week, although based on other's experiences with his orphanage (he's in foster care, but it has to go through the swi) he likely won't receive it, or will just receive a portion of it the day before he meets us. We want to wait a little longer before we send anything to Kara, because she has already been disappointed by a family backing out of her adoption and I don't want to get her hopes up if it looks like this final bit of paperwork won't be done in time. Plus, we know we'll have time to get something to her, even if we wait another two weeks or so.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Our BIG news!

For so long, we had NOTHING, NADA, ZILCH going on with the adoption. Everything with the paperchase this time around was slow. It took 8 months to complete our dossier. Back in February, we had decided that if it were at all possible, we'd like to bring home two children. We had contacted our agency and social worker, and since we weren't yet through immigration, we were able to change our paperwork. (Ended up having to pay all sorts of extra fees and everything, even though we got it done in time, but that's a whole different story about the efficiency of government work!)

As of last Monday, April 20th, we still hadn't received our approval, but we knew it should be done pretty soon. On Tuesday, April 28th, we got a call from our sw at our adoption agency, WACAP about a girl who was close to aging out. They knew we were hoping for a second child, and especially one that was close to the age cut-off, which is 14. This girl will age out June 8th, so they weren't sure if the CCAA would even agree to us being her family, because we may not have enough time. However, we decided to try to pursue her adoption, along with the adoption of the son for whom we've been waiting so long.

The CCAA said yes, they would expedite their end, so we were hopeful, but tentative. Our agency received our approval from USCIS, and sent off our dossier on Monday, April 27th. On Tuesday, April 28th we received PA (pre-approval) and on Thursday, April 30th our agency received our LOA/LSC, which is our Letter Seeking Confirmation!!!!

So, here we are. Friday, May 1st. Bo will get home from a business trip tonight, and we'll be completing our I800, along with a slew of other paperwork. (It is remarkable how many forms our government can come up with, and how insanely wordy and complicated they can make things.) We need to choose names, since you now have to have their names chosen before traveling. First thing tomorrow, we need to find a notary so we can sign all the paperwork, and then FedEx them all to our agency. They'll get these off to all the various places they need to go, and we're praying that these agencies will cooperate with rushing them through. It's vital that this all be accomplished in as short a time as possible, because we need to be in province and have the adoption completed *before* June 8th, so we really don't have much time at all.

We have already purchased a 12-seater car! Yep...we're now THAT family! We have so much to do before we leave, and my head is spinning trying to sort through it all. We weren't expecting to travel till November, so all the things that you need to have prepared....well, we don't. We need things like red envelopes, ayi gifts, medicines, and so much other stuff that I unfortunately don't remember from the last time we went to China!

I cannot yet post pictures, but I will just as soon as I can, I promise!