Friday, September 30, 2011

Good news!

Our Agency social worker emailed me that our Article 5 will be picked up October 14!  They will be over-nighting it to Beijing and then we will only be waiting for our TA (travel approval) The travel approval normally takes anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks.  So we are hoping to know exact dates of travel by the end of the month.

We had our travel conference call with our agency yesterday.  It lasted 2 1/2 hours but it went by so quickly.  The China rep for our agency and 2 other families joined in on the call.  They believe we might be traveling with these 2 other families because we are so close in the process.  One is from Pennsylvania and the other family is from Austin, Texas.  We are all adopting daughters that are only a few months apart in age and all of them have cleft lip & palate.  Charlotte is the only one that has had any repairs done from what I understand.  Our daughters are all from different provinces though so, the first week we will be in our daughters provinces and we will meet in Guangzhou after receiving our children.

We discussed everything from what will happen as far as paperwork, what Chinese officals will be doing what, what paperwork we will need to take with us, the typical timeline while we are there, to what to eat and drink & other tips.  We also discussed how much spending money to bring. Everything will be paid for in advance except for our lunch & dinner and any spending money we may want for souveniors.  Our agency recommended bringing $2,000 for this.

I was excited to find out we will be booking our own travel to China and the agency will pick up everything once we are there...they handle in country flights to Lanzhou & Guangzhou, trains, buses and transporation of any kind once we are there.  There will be a Engligh speaking guide/translator with us every day, for majority of the day and their role is to interpret and also they will do alot of the paperwork side. 

I was a little disappointed that our agency does not wire the orphanage donation over to China ahead of time like some agencies do.  That means we will have to carry alot of cash on us which is a little scarey. 

If we do indeed travel as a group with the other families, the agency wants us to stay at the Garden.  I have heard AWESOME things about the is REALLY EXTRAVAGANT from what I understand.  I was hoping we could stay at the Victory Hotel as a more budget friendly option but that may not be possible.  We will make the most of it. :) The Garden supposedly even has remote control shower curtains! LOL!  We are just not used to that level of luxury but hey, it might be nice after our week in rural China. :)

And just in case you want a good laugh and to be reminded to be thankful for the little things (western toilets) check out this link.  hee hee!  I am NOT looking forward to this part of rural China.  :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Doll Giveaway

Baby be Blessed is giving away a FREE personalized doll on their blog on Monday.  I signed up for the drawing and you can sign up too by clicking the link below.

I happened upon their website a few months ago and fell in love with their dolls and have been saving my money to buy Charlotte a doll from there. The dolls are beautiful and I would LOVE to have one for Charlotte.

This is what it says on their website:

Baby be Blessed is a doll ministry. Each handmade doll has the Word of God printed on a patch sewn to their belly. Our mission and deepest desire is for each child to come to know, understand and live for Jesus Christ.

Cabled & Article 5 drop off! :)

I am  happy to announce we were CABLED and the NVC letter and is on its way to the US Consulate in China.  3 weeks from today we will be waiting on TA (Travel Approval-official invitation to come to China!)  This step would normally only take 2 weeks but there is a week long holiday in China the first week of October so, that will probably add on a week to our wait.

What is a NVC letter??  Well below is the letter we received.  Basically it states that the US consulate in Guangzhou has been forwarded some of the necassary paperwork to start preparing Charlottes Visa.

Dear Petitioner:

The State Department's National Visa Center has recently received your approval Form I-800,
Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. This letter is to inform you
that your petition has been forwarded to the appropriate visa-issuing post where the
adoption interview will take place.
Our records indicate that you filed the I-800 petition for:
Name of Beneficiary/Child: WU, KE XIA
Case Number: GUZ2011764078
This case has been forwarded to:

Please forward any inquiries regarding your I-800 to the assigned US Embassy/Consulate General mentioned above.
Bureau of Consular Affairs

It takes the Consulate 2 weeks to review Charlotte's visa application, make sure it meets the qualifications for an immigrant visa, and then signs off that everything is in order for the adoption to be completed. This is called the Article 5 letter. THEN WE ARE JUST WAITING ON TRAVEL APPROVAL!  We are getting SO CLOSE baby girl! :)

Below is a picture of the US Consulate in Guanzhou, China where our paperwork is headed. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Have I died and gone to heaven??

I was laying in bed this morning snuggling and talking to the little boys, trying to slowly wake them up this morning and decided to check my email on my iphone.  I had another email from Ann (the Chinese lady that sent the care package to the orphange for me) and it said more pictures of Ke Xia.  I thought they were probably the same pictures as yesterday but, I told Drew to come downstairs with my to my laptop and we would see for sure.  He had a little pep in his step as he followed me downstairs.  It was 3 more new pictures of our girl! PRECIOUS!

When I picked up the boys from school yesterday I immediately showed them the new pictures.  It had been 5 long months since we had gotten any new pictures!  Drew was so excited he got one photo and just wouldnt let go of it and kept studying it with a huge grin on his face.  He is going to be so great with her.  We walked down to get Ben and he and his teacher both were enamored with the pictures.  And Will, well lets just say he is a teenage boy in full force right now. LOL!  He looked at one picture and said "oh" and that was about it.  But don't be fooled he is excited and once she gets here, I have a feeling he is going to be one great big brother.  Jason worked really late the last 2 nights so, didnt get to see the pictures except on his small cellphone screen until he got home but, he called me several times asking if I would call his parents and email them the pictures as well.  He said "I feel like a proud new daddy." :)  

Much Love,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I sent a donation of underwear and shoes to Charlottes orphange about a month ago but, never received an update.  Imagine my surprise when I checked my email this morning to find 5 beautiful pictures this morning.  She is SMILING!  Oh my word she is SMILING....that makes me so happy! My heart is about to burst I am so in love with our baby girl. 

Only a few more weeks Charlotte and we will have you in our arms forever!

Sending you much love and prayers Charlotte...
Love mommy

Oh my word I could eat her up...can't wait to see her smile in person!

and just in case you need a close up of that adorable smile! :)

PIGTAILS!  love em!

What an interesting outfit.

Friday, September 16, 2011


FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY.....I talked to our USCIS officer this morning and he expects to approve our I-800 TODAY! THANK YOU LORD for sustaining me during this discouraging time....(what should have been a 2 week process has now taken 5 weeks) But, I know your timing IS PERFECT and I can't wait to see how you are going to be glorified through our daughter and this adoption. :)

UPDATE: I called again this afternoon and WE ARE IN FACT APPROVED!  YIPPEEE!!  What does this mean?? Well it means we will hopefully be traveling to CHINA to get our baby girl in about 6-8 WEEKS!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jiayin Designs

I purchased a little gift for myself a few weeks ago and it came in the mail at just the right time.  It is a necklace custom made in China with Charlottes chinese name on it. :)  I just LOVE it!

I think it will be a nice way to feel more connected to Charlotte before we travel.  So, throughout the day, when I find myself thinking about her, I hold onto the charm and say a prayer for her.  It has given me alot of comfort already.  One day I will probably pass this necklace on to Charlotte and it will always be a treasured keepsake.

For more info on the necklace or to purchase one for yourself, check out this fabulous website...

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The light at the end of the tunnel....

Well good news Wednesday 1:47 a.m. I got a text from the USCIS informing me we have an official receipt number.  This is GREAT news as before we had not gotten to this point.  So with some relief I think this means all the paperwork has been ok'ed and forwarded to our USCIS officer. YIPEE!!  I have talked to our officer and he is waiting to receive it on his desk and plans to approve it as soon as possible knowing the problems and delay we have had.  I am thankful for such a nice and understanding officer. Now, I just pray it gets to hus desk like TODAY already! LOL! :)

So what is next?

1. AFTER we receive this elusive I-800 approval, the USCIS sends a letter to the NVC (National Visa Center) that we have been approved. Next, the NVC cables a letter to the US Consulate in China, informing them of our approval and intended adoption. It can take 7-10 days to be "cabled."

2. Then we wait approximately 14 days for our Article V.  . The consulate will review Charlotte's visa application (the DS-230), make sure it meets the qualifications for an immigrant visa, and then signs off that everything is in order for the adoption to be completed. This is called the Article 5 letter.

3. When our Article V letter is ready, our agency's China representative gets it and sends it to Beijing. At this point, we officially begin the wait for our TA, or Travel Approval. The average wait time for TA right now is anywhere from a week to 2 weeks. 

5. After we receive TA, our agency works to set up a Consulate Appointment (CA), which is when we will show up to the US Consulate to finalize the adoption with the US authorities in Guangzhou. This happens actually 7-10 days after we receive custody of Gracie. Once we have a CA, we can plan our trip.  Families generally leave after they receive TA within 2- 10 days.

As you can see we are VERY close....we could be traveling in as soon as 5 weeks although I estimate us to be traveling to China the end of October which would mean 7-8 weeks. 

*  Our trip will goes something like this:
-We will probably fly out of the US on a Friday. Arrive in Beijiing and stay the night. 
-Take another smaller plane on Sunday to arrive in the capital city of Charlottes province (Lanzhou, Gansu) by Sunday afternoon/night.  The province she is in is unusal in that we will probably receive custody of her on that Sunday.
-We will hang out in Lanzhou Sunday thru Friday, going to appointments & waiting for paperwork. 
-We will leave Charlottes province (Gansu) the following weekend (probably on Friday) and fly to --Guangzhou, where, over the following few days, the adoption is finalized, they do a medical exam and we will have our Consulate Appointment and FINALLY be able to bring our girl home to the good ole USA! :)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The UGLY....

What is happening??

We are STILL waiting on our I-800 approval.  We should have gotten it last week but, when it got to the Texas lockbox they returned it, saying it was missing a page.  Now, as adoptive parents, we do all we can to ensure we have crossed every “t” and dotted every “i” but…. I made a mistake.
L  They included the missing page and asked us to sign on that page and return it.  We signed and over-nighted it back to them…problem solved, right? Nope…after another week I called to check on the status and they said it had been rejected again due to a missing page. UGH!  All we could do is wait for the rejection and all of the paperwork to come back in the mail to us once again to find out what had happened.  Thankfully, it came in the mail the next day.  When they sent it back the first time they had included a page (THE missing page) and asked us to sign and return well….they included the WRONG page!  It was indeed page 9 but not the page 9 of the I-800 form.  It was page 9 of the I-800a form.  So we fixed it, we prayed and it was mailed off yet again, in hopes to get approval this week.  I called our officer to check on the status today and he still has not received it from the lockbox and he asked me to call back on Wednesday in hopes of some good news.

How am I feeling about our adoption journey?

I know without a doubt that God has led us on this journey but, I have been having a very difficult time the past 2 weeks dealing with this paper work mess.  I guess I can only describe it as, you now when you are 8 months pregnant, and you are counting down the days?  Well imagine your doctor comes in and says you won’t be holding your baby until 2 weeks PAST your due date.  Everything was suppose to be cut and dried at this point and I just didn’t anticipate any problems occurring at this point in the process.  This paperwork problem has probably cost us 2 weeks with Charlotte.  L  Yes, I know God is in control and I really DO KNOW that it will happen in God’s PERFECT timing BUT, this mamas heart has been devastated.  I feel like I was FINALLY letting myself get really excited and counting down the weeks until we have our baby girl in our arms.  Since this delay, I feel like I am just holding onto the edge of a cliff waiting for this I-800 approval which should have been no big deal.  I told Jason today that I don’t think I will be able to breath deeply until I know we have that I-800 approval.  So, I used to feel totally selfish for asking for prayer for myself or for our adoption paperwork BUT, God has dealt with me on that as well.  And, well, if you pray, I would like to ask that you pray that when I call our officer on Wednesday that he has our paperwork and that we are FINALLY approved and ready to go onto the next step.

I am not proud of the anxiety I have let this cause me.  Why can’t I just understand that 2 weeks in the scheme of things, years from now, won’t really matter at all??  Why can’t I focus on the blessings in my life (I have 4 around me all of the time) to get through this rough time??  Adoption is NOT for the tenderhearted!  I went into this thinking I would LOVE to talk Jason into doing this all over again next year to adopt a sister for Charlotte.  Now, I think NO WAY do I want to go through this all again!  I decided to write about this honestly and frankly because, I want to remember the good and the bad times of this journey we are on to our daughter.   

My 2 best friends are both pregnant and due a week apart and even though they have been SO amazingly SUPPORTIVE, they just don’t understand how I am feeling.  Seriously do I even understand how I am feeling??? LOL!  They don’t understand why I am not running around “nesting” as a pregnant woman would.  We have been preparing for this adoption for almost a year.  And unlike being pregnant, I have known we were having a girl and looked into those beautiful eyes and her PRECIOUS face for 7 MONTHS already!  Studying every last detail of every picture we have of her.  I’ve imagined having her in my arms so many times, bought a gazillion and one clothes in several different sizes for her (no joke), painted and prepared a room for her and prayed endless amounts of prayer for her health and safety. WE…ARE…READY…BEYOND READY for her to join our family.  It’s been like a SUPER LONG pregnancy except that I have gained weight from worry & stress and I don’t have the assurance that our baby girl is safe in my tummy. L  So, I know I might not be typical in the way I am dealing with these last few weeks before Charlotte joins our family.  Unless you have been through an adoption, you just can’t imagine the toll it takes on you and I guess by being in denial and attempting to keep my mind off of the paperwork and Charlotte (yeah right!) it’s just what I am doing to cope with how I am feeling. 

When Jason and I had Will, thirteen years ago, we like most first time parents, were totally unaware as to what was ahead.  Unlike our adoption there was no training, no interviews, no home inspection, no copies of our tax returns, no lengthy recommendations from friends, no notarized papers etc. There are no rules or regulations whatsoever for people to have kids biologically.  With Charlotte’s adoption we are so over prepared that it is ridiculous.  That doesn’t mean I am not still nervous…I am. I just know that God will provide whatever knowledge we need to help Charlotte through the transition.  I just wonder if the process was just a bit easier, if we wouldn’t have less orphans in this world?!?!? 

I know how incredibly blessed we are to be able to adopt and I can’t even imagine the amount of joy Charlotte will bring to our family….am I ready for the terrible 2’s??  You betcha!  J   My prayer now is for our paperwork to go smoothly from here on out and we WILL be holding our daughter very, very soon! J  “Everything worth having, is worth fighting for.”

P.S. If you are an adoptive parent reading this, please give me some encouragement and tips on how you dealt with the last few weeks of waiting.