Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maps of where we will be going

We will fly into Beiijing...see it up there in bold letters?? We will sight see for a couple of days.

We will then fly to Lanzhou where we will meet Charlotte for the first time.  They say it is about 3-4 hours from Lanzhou to Wuwei.

See on the map above, the little area in light blue where CHINA is written?? That is the Gansu province and right in the middle of the Gansu province is Wuwei.  You can also see it on the map below where it shows the different cities in the Gansu province.  Wuwei is where our baby girl is right now with her foster family.

You can also see in the first map (on the bottom in green) is the Guangdong Province.  We be flying to Guangzhou (see closer view below) after we leave Lanzhou.  We will stay there just a couple of days for more paperwork and take an oath to be Charlottes parents. :)  Then we will fly home! :)

Nahum 1:7

"The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knoweth them that trust in Him." Nahum 1:7

What a week...

On Monday we got an email from our homestudy agency that Ohio had contacted them saying they would not accept a request from a 3rd party for Jason's child abuse clearance.  Yes, we have to have child abuse clearances for every state we have lived in.  So I was pretty we had submitted our paperwork a month ago and have heard it takes about 3 months for Ohio to process this.  So, I overnighted a new request with Jasons signature to them and tried calling them but couldn't get through.  My sister-in-law used to work for an Ohio congressman and she recommended calling our Ohio state respresentaive and gave me the numbers.  I called and talked to the young man that answered the phone and told him what had happened and that we would appreciate any help in expediting the paperwork because we are adopting a special needs child from China.  He said he would see what he could do.

I guess I will neve know if they made a call and if it made the difference or not.  But I called the Ohio dept that was handling the clearances and talked to a nice lady that also said she would put a note that said we were hoping to be expedited.  About 2 hours later I got a call from a lady in the dept. that was very apologetic and she said because we had over nighted the paper with a return envelope to them, that she would personally handle this and we would have our clearance in our hands by the end of the week. 

Those of you not in the adoption world do not have ANY IDEA just how AWESOME this is!  It will hopefully speed up our process by a couple of months potentially.  So we are so very, very thankful.  God has just shown out this week by continuing to show us his approval of this adoption.

Much Love!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What's next??


Above is how to write our daughters Chinese name....Wu Kexia (pronounced woo kuh sha)  And thanks to this neat website ( ) I found out that her Chinese name means "rosy cloud".  We thought that was pretty neat since her new middle name will be Rose. :)

We also found this neat website that will allow us to write out a letter to her foster family and then have it translated so they can read it.  We plan on sending her a care package as soon as we can.

So we are ALMOST DONE with our home study! woohoo!  Next Saturday is our last visit with our social worker. We will just be waiting on our child abuse clearances to come in and just in case you are wondering our next steps in the adoption paperwork is listed out below.  I know it still seems like alot and it is but the home study is usually the most time consuming thing.  Some of these things will only take a week or two and some can be done simultaneous with other things.  AND the good thing is that alot of the paperwork are things we have already done for our home study.  Its just a matter of making copies of some of them to send in.

1) Finish Home study and start collecting all your dossier documents. During this time, you will want to begin notarizing, state certifying, and authenticating your dossier.
2) Submit LOI Letter of Intent to China
3) Receive PA pre approval to adopt from China
4) Send in I-800A to USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services) to be approved by the United States to Adopt from China in general

Documents Needed with I-800A form:
I-1800A form
Notarized home study
Copies of both parents birth certificates
G-1145 form for text & email notification

5) Finish and send in DOSSIER:  Certify and authenticate your USCIS approval, then send your dossier to your agency. You are now DTC (Dossier to China!) If you work quickly, you can compile your dossier and send it to China in 3-4 months.
What is included in your dossier:
  • A completed home study
  • Certified birth certificates for both parents
  • Marriage License
  • Medical statement of good health for both parents
  • Letter of Employment for both parents
  • Financial Statement
  • Police Reports for both parents
  • I-800A Approval
  • 6 photos of your family life
  • 3 copies of each parent's passport
  • 2 passport photos of each parent
  • Adoption Application Letter (or Letter of Intent)
Step 1: Gather all the documents needed. File for I-800A approval with your completed home study.

Step 2: Notarize, state certify, and authenticate the documents in your dossier, including your I-800A once it arrives.
Step 3: Send your dossier to your agency!

6)  Receive LID-Log In Date-date your info is logged into the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) system
7)  Receive LOA Letter of Acceptance from China (takes usually 50 days after LID)
8)  Send in I-1800 approval to adopt specific child- It will take approximately 3 weeks to receive I-800 approval

Documents included with I-1800:
  • Form I-800
  • Form I-864W (even if only one parent is traveling, you STILL file this form along with your I-800)
  • A copy of your original signed Letter of Acceptance (LOA)
  • A copy of your child's medical/referral info in English and Chinese (get this from your agency)
  • A letter from your adoption agency stating that you have completed the required Hague training
  • A letter from your agency stating that all the medical information translated into English is true and accurate.
9)  NV- National Visa Center…will be notified that your I-800 is approved the NVC will then cable (email) the U.S. Embassy in Guangzhou, China. This is approval of your visa petition. NVC should email this same letter to your agency
10)  Once you receive the NVC letter, send it to your agency immediately! They will deliver this letter to the US consulate in China.
11) Once the consulate has your NVC letter, they will issue your Article 5 in 2-3 weeks. The Article 5 is the consulate pre-approving your child for an immigrant visa. Your agency will have a courier pick up the Article 5 and take it to the CCAA.
12)  Once the CCAA receives the Article 5, the Travel Approval will then be issued. This takes around 2-4 weeks. At this point, your agency will make travel arrangements for you to go to China and adopt your child! When we travel we will probably fly straight to Beiijing. Stay there for 2 days and then fly to Lanzhou (the capital of Gansu) which is a 2 hour flight.  The next day we will probably get to meet our daughter.  WuWei is about a four hour drive from Lanzhou. The adoption will then finalized the next day. 

This what another family that adopted from Wuwei, Gansu province said about the area:
"Lanzhou is real China.  You will probably be the only western family there.  There are some stares, but it's not bad.  Everyone was really interested and friendly.  There are few English speakers outside of the hotel so it can be a bit isolating.  It would be good to have some idea of places to eat/things to see before you go and to have your guide or the hotel staff make up cards ahead of time so that you can show taxi drivers where you want to go."

We will then fly to Guangzhou where we will meet back with our group and see their new additions and have our swearing in at after our Consulate Appointment.  Then a couple days later we will bringing Charlotte home! YIPPEE! :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Charlotte likes hugs and bathtime! :)

We found some more info on KeKe (Charlotte) on our agency's page.  Notice the words MATCHED on there! :) I thought the description of her was so cute. I found myself reading it again and again.  It is just a small glimpse into the personality of our daughter. And she loves hugs....awwww.  We can't wait to hug you baby girl!
KE KE (China)

Country: China
Name: Ke Ke
Gender: Female
Type of Special Need: Cleft Palate/Postoperative Cleft Lip
Post Date: January 2011
Status: Matched
Ke Ke is an active, happy child.  She loves to play with her building blocks and enjoys spending time outside.  She is fond of taking baths and likes to splash in the water.  She is closest to her caregiver and loves hugs.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Meet Charlotte Rose Kexia McCuistion

There are the only 4 pictures we have of our sweet Charlotte.  This first one is from before she has the surgery to correct her cleft lip.  We think she is adorable in this little bonnet. :)

Charlotte Rose Kexia McCuistion born in November of 2009

The picture above were taken right after her surgery on her lip.  I don't like this one of her crying but it is cute to see her standing. They say the orphanages really bundle them up because they think that if a baby gets cold that it will get sick.  So it is common for them to have 5 or 6 layers underneath the little snow suits. :)  She looks chubby in this picture because of all of the layers. hee! hee!

This is one of my favorite pictures of her.  She is sitting there playing with a little rattle toy. And look at those little shoes. :)
Our adoption agency is getting together a request to send to her orphange to request an update on Charlotte.  Even though she is in a foster home the orphange is still in charge of updates on her etc...  So we hope to have more pictures in a few weeks and also know if her foster family speaks Mandarin or what dialect.  We want to learn a few basic words to help with the transition.

So thats all for now...we are busy busy with paperwork and we meet for our 3rd home study visit tomorrow and our LAST home study visit is next Saturday when she is coming to our house to meet our boys and see our house.  Things are moving along!

Much Love!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The BEST Valentines Day EVER! :)

Well you guys know we have been praying for God's will on our adoption journey.  We fell in love with a little girl but the agency told us there were other families interested her too. So we waited and prayed...we knew they were suppose to meet today and decide which family was the best fit for her.  Jason and I talked and prayed that we would be chosen only if it was God's will for us but we guarded our hearts too because we really didnt think we would likely be chosen.

Well around 12:30 I got THE CALL.  I was with my friend Sheri shopping when I looked down at my cell phone & thought this could be the call, because it was a number I didnt recognize.  I took a deep breath and answered .  It was April with Gladney and she told me they had 5 families interested in KeKe and my heart sank.  BUT she said we have chosen your family as the best fit for KeKe if you are still interested in her.  I was in shock, Sheri was screaming behind me and I didnt even know what to say!  Of course we were still interested!

I talked to April (our social worker with Gladney) again this afternoon she is going to try and get us an update on Charlotte (her new name for our family) and updated pictures.  I am not sure I am allowed to post pictures on my blog so I will wait but I am dying to show you her picture.  We think she is adorable! She is right on target for her age as far as weight and she is BALD!  lol! :)

When I picked up the boys from school I had her picture and said "Well we got the call and she is your sister"  Will said "So she's really ours??" Drew and Ben were so cute.  Later Drew said "I am so excited about the baby mom.  Can I see her picture again?"  Now they had already seen her picture but it was like he wanted to get a really good look at his sister. :) so cute! :)  So I am making them copies of the pictures we have of her. :)

So we are one happy little family tonight.  Our friends suggested we go eat Chinese to celebrate! lol!  So thats what we are doing... Meeting friends to celebrate Charlotte Rose and praising the Lord for this little blessing.

Much Love!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Could she be the one??

We saw a picture of a little girl on a waiting child site online a few days ago and requested more info on her and her medical file. She is adorable and has been nicknamed KeKe! She has a cleft lip and palate and has already had her cleft lip repaired and it looks great.  She is 14 months old and is living with a foster family instead of in an orphanage which is a better situation usually.  We had a international adoption doctor review her file today and I just got off the phone with her.  She was very thorough and said KeKe is mildly anemic, meeting most of her milestones and is in the 50% percentile for weight, heighth and head circumference.  She has 3 teeth, can crawl and walk holding on to something (this was as of November), she doesnt have much hair yet and is just a chubby little thing at 22 lbs. In the doctors words she said "it's as good a scenario as it gets". 

She did discuss some things we would need to keep in mind.  Her surgery for her palate correction and what that might be like as well the possibility that she would need braces, ear tubes and speech therapy.  She said with adopting a child internationally with a cleft palate they automcatically start speech therapy right away with them .  It can help them learn English as well as any difficulties pronunciating she might have.

She is with a different agency than what we had originally planned to use as our placing agency.  Its not a big deal to switch and this other agency is also a good agency.  They will have a meeting to review all families interested in her and make a decision as to which family would be best for her a week from today.

So we are praying for God's will and ask you to do the same on our behalf.  If she is meant to be our daughter we will be chosen and if not well we know our daughter is still out there.  This is such a hard process look at their little pictures and you just want to bring them all home. 

Praying for God's Will & coveting your prayer right now,

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Some FUN Retail Therapy...

Well we have been busy trying to be patient and pass the time away...not my strong suit.  :0) And in big contrast to the last few weeks as I had been so busy getting paperwork done.  Now everything is up to our social worker.  But in the mean time we have decided that we are pretty sure we will  name our daughter Charlotte Rose.  Charlotte is a southern name I have always loved and Rose is after my mother (her name is Roslynn-for those that didnt know). 

Now if you don't like it you can tell me...I can handle it.  My mother HATES the name Charlotte but, I reminded her she got to decide what to name her children and this time I am too excited to let what anyone else thinks of the name to affect me too much. :)  Charlotte has always been one of my top picks for a girl name.

So after our social worker told us we could get excited I decided to do a little shopping on Friday.  :)  I bought Charlotte her first dress! :)  It is the cutest little Baby LuLu dress...I can't wait to see her in it. :) Here is a picture of it.

So after dress shopping I decided a little more retail therapy was in order to celebrate!  But not too much since our adoption expenses are adding up. $$$$  One thing I wanted to purchase was an Asian baby doll.  This will be the gift we give her when we first meet her so it had to be special.  So I googled "Asian baby dolls" and all of these adorable babydolls came up.  I finally settled on this one because it is soft which I thought would be nice for her.  I had also seen this babydoll as our friend Eden has one and loves it. Isn't it cute!?!?
I also found another doll that I would love for her to have.  It is called a Blessing Doll...such sweet thought behind this doll.  You can read more info by clicking the link below but I would definitely love one of these dolls for Charlotte too. :)

HOW DOES THIS ALL WORK? Once we see a child we would like to join our family we will "lock"their file for 48 hours.  That means they are not available to be adopted by anyone else during that time.  We will have an adoption doctor look at her medical file to give us advice.  After that we have to decide if we want this child and submit our LOI (Letter of Intent) and this all has to be done within those 24 hours.  The Letter of Intent is basically a letter Jason and I will write to the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) stating basics about us, what we can offer this child and asking to adopt this child.

 Please continue to pray for the paperwork to go smoothly and quickly.  We are waiting to look at the file of a little girl we are interested in.....Could she be THE ONE!?!?!?  Its so exciting!

With Much Love & Excitement!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Walking on cloud nine! :)

Yesterday was such a mix of emotions as we prepared to meet with our social worker last night for the first time.  I made copy after copy to get ready and then we took off for Nashville (almost 2 hours away).  I was so nervous I just about got sick on the way there.  I told Jason he had to stop off at a gas station to get me some pepto bismal.  :)  I don't know why I was so nervous.  I guess I felt like our life was in the hands of someone I didnt know and it was scary for me.  Jason on the other hand was like "What are you so nervous about? We are like the perfect couple to adopt. She is going to need to prove herself to ME not the other way around. Because I may not feel confident in her handling our adoption."  His approach kind of calmed me down and the pepto bismal seemed to work too! :) 

We got there about 20 minutes before her and I looked around Cracker Barrell (where we were meeting her)  to pass the time without anxiety.  All the little girl clothes were so cute and I noticed most of them had ladybugs on them.  How ironic, since ladybugs are known to mean goodluck when it comes to adoption in China.  Was God trying to tell me to calm down and trust Him??? hmmmm.....

Once we saw her walk up I felt like it was probably her because of the papers in her hands and my fears started to go away.  She was a normal looking woman :) around our age and explained she had 2 boys of her own.  She immediately started just chatting with us, about everything but made it seem just like a normal conversation over dinner.  We talked about everything from how long we had thought about adoption and why we chose China to what our families thought about our adopting and how Jason and I had met.

At one point we handed her all the paperwork we had accumlated and she was impressed.  She said "wow...ya'll have been really busy!  I can't believe you have this much done."  :)  Jason explained that I was definitely a go-getter when I got something in my mind.  :)  She also couldnt believe we had already finished our adoption training online too.  I told her I felt like our daughter was already born and waiting on us so I wanted to do things as quickly as I could on our part. :)  Even a few days can mean a delay of weeks when it comes to international adoption process.

After our home study is done our papers will be sent to USCIS to get U.S. approval to adopt and then our papers will be mailed to China for their approval.  I asked her what were the chances of them not accepting us after getting through with all of the homestudy process.  She said that it was just a matter of paperwork and that they might request a different paper or wording a different way but that we would be accepted.  I almost started crying right then and embarrassing but I couldn't help it.  I felt like I could finally let myself get really excited. :)

On the way home I called my sister and she laughed at me I was so excited. I told her to start looking for us a white baby bed and HAIRBOWS! :) LOL!  I am southern girl and plan on this little girl not going a day without a hairbow in her hair (when she is little anyway)! :)  I just can't explain in words how happy we are. 

Jason and I had such a good trip home (definitely in contrast to the way there!) talking to each other about plans and names and girl things about our future daughter.  As most of you know he has a thing with all of the little girls at our church to pull their ponytails.  Its kind of a game with them.  He goes up to them and says "Oh you have a ponytail, you must want Mr Jason to pull it!" and its kind of a thing of endearment between them...I told him our daughter might not have enough hair for a ponytail yet but that she would eventually. :)LOL!

So we meet again with her next week and I won't be nearly as nervous.  :) Then she will visit our home on February 26th.  Please pray that Ohio does not take as long as they have been on Jason's child abuse check....that is the one thing that might hold us up a few weeks. :(

Much Love!
(who is still on cloud nine!)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Seeing progress everyday

Well we have most of our paperwork done. We are going to get fingerprinted this afternoon for FBI background checks.  We have had all of our medical tests done we are just waiting on some results to come back.  And we've asked some of our family and friends for reference letters to turn into the agency.  I know I am going to get emotional even reading them.  We have been so blessed with a supportive family and church family.

We are starting our adoption classes. We have to have 10 hours of classes for our homestudy to be complete.  We are doing them online at which has been helpful.  We got to choose the classes and we chose to do some on the history & culture of China as well as typical adoption courses involving grieving and attachment.  We are quickly realizing every little thing costs money...the $200 septic inspection letter has been done, the fingerprinting costs us $100 and now the adoption classes are going to be about $160....but its all so worth it!

We are planning on our first home study visit on Thursday night.  We are really excited about this.  We will meet our social work in Nashville for 2 visits and then on February 26, she will come to Paris for our last home study visit.
I have already started receiving fabric squares for the 100 wishes/prayers quilt.  It has been amazing! I have gotten emails from people from Croatia, Africa, Japan, Australia, Portugal & India.... wanting to join the group & send in a prayer/wish square for the quilt.  My flickr friends are really getting into this.  You can check out the group at 

We are frequently looking at medical files of girls in our age range.  So we ask that you continue to pray that when the right one comes along that we know that she is THE one for our family. 

Much love!