Sunday, February 27, 2011

Adoption Video with 'One Less'

This video sums up everything I am feeling or would like to post tonight! My sister heard this song and shared it with me today and I have watched the video multiple times throughout the day. While we are still many months from meeting Annabelle, it becomes increasingly more "real" every day that passes, every piece of paperwork that we turn in and every time little Alexis talks, with anticipation, about being a baby sister. We will be so excited when Annabelle is "one less." I know I will frequently watch this video and it will encourage us as we go through ups and downs in this process. No matter what delays, what fears we may have, or the waiting that is stressful, this is our focus and our purpose for what we are doing...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Alexis is THREE!

Even though this is our "adoption" blog, I still had to post a special memory that we made this weekend....Alexis turned THREE!  Despite the fact that Jason and I came down with miserable stomach viruses on Friday and Saturday, we managed to have an otherwise wonderful weekend with our little girl!  It has really hit me lately that she is no longer a "baby," even though I still like to call her that - and probably will for a long time!  We had a Tinkerbell/Peter Pan-themed party for her at our church.  We enjoyed the day with several of her church friends, family friends and family members.  Everyone had a great time and the birthday girl was so very excited!

Jason and I gave Alexis an American Girl doll named "Ivy."  Our social worker had suggested that we read Alexis books and give her opportunities to be immersed into different cultures, so that she will be more accepting of a sister that is of a different race.  Ivy is a Chinese girl, and Alexis already said "she looks like she is from China - she is like Annabelle!"  She loves her and has quickly added her to the ever-growing baby doll collection.  As young as she is, she will be accepting and love Annabelle without hesitation (although I know there will be certain amounts of sibling rivalry); however, we want to encourage her to accept her sister - and others that she meets - openly and lovingly no matter what their physical appearance may be.  It will also be beneficial for Annabelle to see that Alexis has dolls, books, movies, etc. about little girls and boys of different ethnicities.

After Alexis' party, we were cuddling with her in bed and showing her pictures of the day she was born.  She looked over at me and said, "Mommy...there are 1-2-3 people here...and when Annabelle comes there will be 1-2-3-4!  I will make sure she eats her food and doesn't make a mess!"  We hadn't mentioned her sister that day at all to her, so it was neat that she thought of her in reference to our family.

We have loved every minute of our family life during the last three years.  It is hard to believe that on her next birthday, she will likely (hopefully) be sharing it with a little sister!  I am excited about the changes and experiences in store for Alexis, and our whole family throughout the next year.

We are now working on completing our petition to the U.S. government to adopt a child internationally, the I-800a form.  Once we receive our written and notarized home study (which is ready - we just haven't received it yet), we will be able to file the form.  This week we are authenticating our dossier documents at the Hardin County Clerk's office and plan to make a trip to Frankfort to authenticate them (again) at the Secretary of State's office sometime in March.  We are looking forward to taking Alexis with us to our state capitol building for a memorable and special family trip!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Surprises in the Mail!

We were very excited to come home today and find not one, but TWO important documents in the mail!  We finally received our FBI background check results AND our U.S. Passports!  We were most excited about the FBI check, as these are the last documents we needed to complete our home study.  Now we can move on to preparing the dossier that will be sent to China (collection of documents that will accompany our official request to adopt a child), completing U.S. forms to request permission to adopt abroad (I-800 form), applying for grants, etc.  We're just SO excited that this first big hurdle is almost over!  We had been told recently that wait times for the FBI forms could be as long as 12 weeks, and ours came back in about 5 weeks!  It was a pleasanat surprise and gives us some excitement/momentum to move forward.

I was also excited about a book that I ordered that came in the mail this week.  I have ordered several adoption-themed books for myself as well as picture books for Alexis.  This one is titled, Just Add One Chinese Sister.  The title answers the question a little boy has, "How do you become a big brother?"  It is a really sweet book that provides a memoir for a little girl who has been adopted from China, with side notes on each page from the "big brother" about how he felt through the whole process.  It will be a great asset for Alexis, and for Annabelle some day!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!

Today is the official start to the Chinese New Year!  I enjoyed teaching my students about the Chinese New Year through literature and related activities.  We were kindly invited to join an international adoption group that is forming in Elizabethtown for a special celebratory dinner at the Green Bamboo Chinese restaurant in town.  We aren't big fans of Chinese food, but what we selected was very good.  It was so encouraging, exciting and fun to meet so many new people, families, and beautiful little girls from China!  Everyone was so friendly and supportive - I look forward to continued experiences and support from these families.  Seeing so many girls - ranging from 20 months to eight years of age - thriving, laughing, growing and being loved was a blessing an inspiration for us. 

We also had our third and final visit with our social worker, which amounted to a 20-minute meeting at a local McDonald's so that we could pass off our final round of paperwork.  She has been very nice and helpful, and we enjoyed being a little more casual and laid-back with her this evening.  We have now completed ALL of the homestudy documents (a HUGE accomplishment...there were so many things to do, sign, collect, etc.).  We are just waiting for the FBI background checks (I feel like we have been waiting forever and it's only been about five weeks - ha!) and our homestudy will be written, signed and complete!  Then we can finish preparing our dossier and be much closer to waiting for something more important...a match! 

I've included a couple of pictures from our dinner, including a coloring sheet Alexis completed.  She was cute...she thought the Chinese symbols were "snowflakes!"  Alexis warmed up to the families eventually, running around telling several of them, "Hey!  I'm going to be a big sister!  We're going to go to China on an airplane and pick out a baby!"  I also included a picture of her fortune cookie message....I  thought the message was timely and appropriate for us as well! 

Hopefully we will have news on our FBI checks by the time I post next week.  :)