Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Day of Kindergarten

Oh, my it is not easy to send your child off to kindergarten. Not even when you have sent her off to preschool before-hand.

She looks so grown up! I think I am going to cry now...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Travel Dates!!

Being with a large multi-national adoption agency has it ups and downs. The up side (and it is a big one) is that after being in business for over 30 years we know they our reputable and will "go to bat" for you if ever necessary.

The down side, in this particular case, is that they have a lot more logistical work to do before you can travel. More people to move, more provinces to travel to, just more of everything. Which means in this case that we are traveling a full month later than some people which received their referral on the same date and some even from the same orphanage.

But, finally we have our travel dates and can't wait to go and get her!!!!!!!!! Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Renewing Fingerprints

Our finger prints expire August 15th. So, being diligent we retook our fingerprints three months early May 15th. It took two months for the "processing paper work" to be completed (July 15th). The paper work clearly states that this "notice" was forwarded to the American Consulate in Guangzhou, China.

It was suggested by our adoption agency to double check with the National Visa Center to be sure the paperwork was received. It is the job, you see, of the National Visa Center to log and forward the documents to the correct Consulate. When I called the National Visa Center this week, they had no notes of it. OK, so I completely wigged. There is not much you can do; if the consulate did not receive my new fingerprints I would not be going to China to get my little girl until such time as the Guangzhou Consulate received and "Cleared" (whatever that means) my renewed fingerprint documents. After fours days of calling, I was rewarded with "they were actually forwarded on July 23rd." Yeah!!! So, now I know the consulate actually did receive my fingerprints only 2 and 1/2 months after I took them. It took 2 1/2 months!!!! Impossible! The document itself is only good for 15 months!! 2 1/2 months lounging in some stacked pile in some dark room!!! When I redid them I had no idea if we were going to get our referral in a week or in five more months. I am glad I did not wait.

Lesson learned: Don't wait until the bitter end to redo finger prints. Once you receive any processing notice from your local USCIS it is best to check on them and make sure that it does actually get processed. The number to the National Visa Center is 603-334-0700. Once you get through they will ask you for your case number. This is the same case number your received from the Consulate in Guangzhou. They will have no record of that number. Tell them it is regarding an adoption. Then ask them to state which document dates they list. Or you can list your I-171h or I-800 document dates for them. It seems that they really have no idea which document were sent or received just a date and a forwarding date it listed (I believe).

If we had waited until June 15th (two whole months before our prints expired) we probably would not be able to travel with our group to Nanchang. Instead, we would have had to wait until they (USCIS!) forwarded the document to the National Visa Center, "Cleared" then were forwarded to the consulate (Guangzhou), "cleared" and then wait to be scheduled when possible for my adoption agency to do so. I hope my writing makes some sense.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What's next?

"What's next?"

We are waiting for our Travel Approval "TA" from the CCAA. The CCAA is the China Center of Adoption Affairs. http://china-ccaa.org/frames/index_unlogin_en.jsp The travel approval is a piece of paper that CCAA sends out to formally invite us to adopt our daughter. It means that CCAA has also doubled checked with the orphanage that our daughter is still available for adoption.
Once, that particular piece of paper arrives at our adoption agency, then in turn, our agency calls the US consulate in Guangzhou, China to schedule our appointment for our daughter's visa clearance and Citizenship interview. The scheduling of this appointment will only take place if the TA has been granted, our fingerprints are current and of course our I-171h is current.
Once the U.S. Consulate appointment date is set then our adoption agency will confirm our travel dates with us.
Then it will be our mad dash at plane tickets, travel packages, packing & of course repacking. We should receive 2 to 4 weeks notice before we are needed to be in China.
In the mean time we have applied for our visas, requested a homestudy update, notarized 3 copies of our adoption agreement, 1 copy of our travel agreement, filled out the I-600a, and a couple of other official documents that I have labeled and carefully filed, taken passport photos, contacting the Children's Oakland International Adoption Clinic (highly recommended http://childrenshospitaloakland.org/healthcare/depts/iac_overview.asp) about her probable health and development (and our own peditrician as well) and trying to get through this seemingly short/seemingly hellishly long (pick your own adjectives) wait. Okay catch my breath...
Can't wait to hold her!! All I want to do, of course, is hold her and let her know that she is not alone and has a family to love her and look after her.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Before I forget, the picture on the right is one of my daughter's orphanage. It is a little more colorful than the pictures I posted earlier and does not make it quite so austere. We were told in our write up that Zhi Meng likes to watch TV. We were told that Zhi Meng likes to watch TV twice in the same write up. Somehow, this picture in my mind of all the kids in walkers running over to get the best TV viewing place brings a smile to my face.

I am now in my list making mode for the trip. Making flash cards both for the baby and for us in Mandarin, Pin Yin, English; Milestones for 10 to 20 month olds; different bonding and sensory games -If you have a bonding or sensory game that you would recommend please feel free to comment, I would really appreciate any of your tips. One that I did and enjoyed with our first was to put the same scented (lavender in this case) baby location on us and on her blanket. So even when we changed hotels there was one common smell on us.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More Pictures

This tuesday morning we received updated photos of Xiao Zhi Meng. I have mixed feelings about these pictures. First, I am thrilled to have the updated photos. But secondly, I feel that monstrous pull to pick her up and hold her. The environment does look a little austere. So, I will be reading up about sensory issues just to be on the safe side. Third, I just got use to my baby being 12 months in her last photos it was kind of a jolt to see her age 5 months in 1 week! As much as you try to say "OK this referral photo is of her at twelve months and she is almost seventeen months now" it is actually really hard to visualize the difference. I just can't get her home fast enough. Now, that I have said all that, don't you think she is ooh so very, very pretty? And I am very happy to see she looks healthy too.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Here She Is!!

Selene, Xaio Zhi Meng (Ideal Dream), DOB 24 Feb 2007, Jiangxi Provence