Friday, January 30, 2009

No News is... ????

Okay so No News is "DRIVING ME C-R-A-Z-Y!" We really hoped to hear something this week about finalizing travel dates but ahhh... NO. We are really beginning to lose hope of leaving on the 13th.

Here's the scoop... (and a lesson in governmental waste!)
We are waiting for what is called an I800 from USCIS. We have the I800a from them. I thought it was THE last piece of the puzzle to get LJ BUT... the I800a is only a preapproval to adopt an orphan from a foreign county. Once you get the referral for the child, you THEN send in another application to USCIS for the I800... the REAL form that we need! Geoff mailed off our application on January 14th. It went to Chicago. From there it gets logged into a computer by someone and THEN the application gets sent to Missouri where the final paperwork is done and mailed to us. This is red tape at its best! I am feeling the meaning of "red tape" as it makes my blood boil knowing that IF we had this in our hand at TA, we could more likely leave on the 13th. Now it is a waiting game to find out if the Chinese Consulate will approve our appt and then even if they do... a stressful wait to make sure we get the I800 in our hands before then!!

This is the stuff that keeps me awake at night! Every time I look at a picture of Lexi my heart aches. I know many people say that "she's worth the wait"... "you'll get her in God's time"... "the timing will be perfect for you"... but honestly NONE of this helps during the process. I'm sure I'll look back at this post and realize that everyone's advice was perfect but for now... it just doesn't do it for me. I see those eyes and that face and just long to hold my daughter.

Tonight I was looking at pictures posted by others in the Dongguan Yahoo group. Many had pictures of the orphanage. I even found pictures of other babies wearing the same clothes Lexi was wearing in her referral pictures. As I looked at the pictures I just wanted to cry. We need to go get our little girl. She needs us and WE need her!

Plus Geoff can't handle much more of my nesting! I have cleaned all week trying to prepare for Lexi. Why do I need my sock drawer organized before she arrives is a mystery but it has been done. I'm running out of closets, drawers and rooms to organize and by the end of the weekend, I'll be finished scrubbing floors. I've even been in the garage. I've generated so much trash that I began to just pile it in the garden tub in our bathroom until trash pick up day on Monday.

I've been working on implementing new stuff at school that keeps me busy there. I just can't calm myself down. Yesterday I was at the point of forcing back tears just "thinking" while all by myself.

I think this post just lets everyone know... the last leg of the wait is pure TORTURE!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Two Little Letters Bring Much Joy!

It's been a crazy BUSY last few days or else this post would have been up already... but on Wednesday on the way to the FL Technology Conference, I got a call from Mei to tell us that we have TRAVEL APPROVAL! (Otherwise known to the adoption community as TA!)Travel approval means that we can now request a Visa appointment and plan for travel dates. I was so hoping that we would get TA before Chinese New Year but was doubtful! I was even more amazed when I have not seen any other TA's coming on the RQ site.

If all goes well, we could be traveling on FEBRUARY 13TH!!! 3, COUNT THEM 3 WEEKS from now! There I was riding in a van with 3 other people from my school getting this news and of course I cried with JOY! I had to call Geoff and give him the news. The best I can describe it is he "gulped"! It was like it just took his breath away! He just couldn't believe it. I could just hear the surprise and happiness in his voice and in hearing his breathing!

Every little milestone just brings us closer to Lexi! It's such a wonderful feeling! Our next milestone is getting our I800 from USCIS. We have the I800a which is basically preapproval and the I800 is approval. Imagine that the US government having duplicate paperwork! Our application is at USCIS and should be back soon but technically, Mei should have both of those papers at the time of the Visa application so we are not sure if we will get to leave on the 13th yet. We are not sure when we will find out either. Hopefully soon!

Ah, the hoops we jump through to get to our LJ! All are certainly worth it but we just want her home!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Brennen Learning Chinese?

We went and picked up Brennen yesterday to spend some time with him and have a sleepover. We really love that little guy beyond measure. He kept us entertained as he is learning to speak more. I showed him Lexi's pictures on the refrigerator and tried to get him to say Lexi. That didn't happen but this morning when he was eating breakfast he noticed some more pictures laying on the hutch in the dining room and pointed at her and said, "who's that?". It was so cute! Last night we got a giggle out of him because he picked up our Learn Chinese book and began to go through the pages. It doesn't have pictures so it's amazing that he stuck with it for more than 2 seconds but he did.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

What BROWN did for us!

All of us who adopt Internationally have a UPS/FedEx story. I've dreamed of experiencing ours for years so I was READY on Tuesday when it finally happened. I got up early to make sure I could shower while Geoff was here and be ready if he happened to come as soon as 8:00 am.

I sat on the couch so I would hear him come and messed around spreading the good news with everyone! I don't know why I was afraid I'd miss him because the dogs never let a big noisy truck go by without pitching a fit barking like crazy! But I heard the truck before them. I grabbed my camera and headed out. He hadn't even gotten his seatbelt off when I was to the door of the truck!

I told him that I didn't know if he had ever been asked to have his picture made from anyone but I needed him to let me take his picture. He looked at me with a strange look on his face and I explained... "you are delivering my baby today!". This really got him! LOL! He grabbed his chest and had a shocked look on his face. So I began to explain that on his truck he had a package for me with the information on our baby that we are adopting from China and that it had all of her medical information and pictures and that we had been waiting for 3 years for this day! I noticed that he had a ring on his finger so I told him that he could go home that night and tell his wife that he delivered a baby today! He went and got the package and saw me all teary-eyed and said... "oh, no don't go doing that! You are gonna make me cry too!". Then he stood in the door of the truck and let me take my picture. He got off and gave me the package and hugged me! I thanked him and told him that he had made my day and I asked him his name. He told me Steve B. and then said that we was coming back to see me one day. I told him that we should have her home in about two months and to please do. What a great sport he was! And that is our UPS Story!

Referral Day Details

I've finally settled down enough to post some more details of our referral day. I've been wanting to do this since Monday so I don't lose the details.

I slept in on Monday. I had had a rough night sleeping and finally settled down about the time Geoff got up! So about 10:00 I rolled over and the phone rang. It was Geoff calling to tell me that he was coming home. Apparently there had been an underground fire in downtown Savannah and it caused the power to go out.

So after two hours of no power they decided to send everyone home for the day. We hung up the phone and then Geoff called right back. This time he told me that he had been to the RQ site and that the referral rumor was up to a R4 rating. (Which means it was a pretty reliable rumor!) I jumped out of bed and headed for the computer! When I pulled up my email one of my friends had already gotten her call!!! I was ecstatic! Of course then I began the whole freaking out part about whether we would get a call since our agency was closed until Jan. 5th!

Geoff made it home. I took a shower while he guarded the phone. After a little while Geoff fixed himself some leftovers from Christmas dinner. At this point, Geoff had been home about an hour and a half. I was giving up on getting a call and decided to warm up some turkey. I took one mouthful and the phone rang! It was Mei! I was like a deer in headlights! Trying to figure out if I should swallow the turkey or just spit it out! LOL!

We each grabbed a phone, turned on the video camera and began to talk with Mei. I had to give the pen to Geoff because I couldn't write anything correctly! I even misspelled Lexi's Chinese name and she was spelling it letter by letter! We talked for about a half hour and got all the wonderful details. I, of course, cried the whole time! Once we hung up, we just hugged each other in a pure state of joy! I called my Mom and started telling her that we had a daughter and during this time, we got the email of her picture. I opened it and we just instantly fell in love with her precious face! Mom was beside herself wanting to see pictures. She kept saying she wished dad would get back from town and then finally she gave up and came without him! The funny thing is that she had surgery on her back for a herniated disk the week before Christmas and had yet to drive. She came on anyhow! She wanted to see Lexi so bad! During this time, Geoff was calling his Mom too!

The photos of Lexi came on one document. I had to crop each one to email them to my family. I swear this took forever! I don't know what I was doing but I kept losing the original scan and then would have to re-down load it all over again. I do this kind of stuff on the computer all the time but for some reason, I couldn't get it right! I was nuts! We spent the day on the phone calling family and close friends! It was crazy! The afternoon just disappeared! I had Geoff upload our pictures to CVS and order prints and later on he went to get them.

Then after a whirl of an afternoon, we met my Mom, Dad, brother, my sister Carolyn, my niece Jenna and her son John-Michael, Sara, Chris and the boys, along with Chris' Aunt Jackie and Uncle Ray (who were visiting from Maryland) at the China Buffet. We've been going there for years and talking to the owners wife about adopting from China. I went in and immediately started telling her about Lexi and showed her the pictures. She was so excited for us! All the waitresses came to see and they were so excited as well. We put pictures of Lexi in little frames and gave them to everyone at the table. It was such a nice family celebration! One we've dreamed of for so long! As soon as we can after returning from China, we will be taking Lexi there to meet everyone.

Once we got back home, we talked to MORE people on the phone and stared at her picture a lot! I had to post to my Yahoo groups and share with our Internet family. We finally made it to bed about mid-night that night. I was amazed that I could even sleep. We went to bed that night with Lexi on the nightstand by the bed. Now when we get up, she's the first thing we see and there isn't a better way to start a day!