Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dossier Time...Goodbye, Paperwork!

Today we went to the Kentucky state capitol building in order to have our dossier (collection of documents for adoption) appostilled/authenticated.  Basically, the secretary of state's office had to verify the county clerks in Fayette and Hardin counties, who had verified all of our notaries.  We received nice certificates and seals (or stickers, as Alexis said) on all of our documents to show that they were officially state certified.  While there, we took a little tour of the building with Alexis.  She loved the Lincoln statue, and she kept saying, rather loudly, "Hey!  He looks like Jesus!"  She also wanted to know where George Washington was and if we could go look for him!

After we left Frankfort, we made a hurried trip to Lexington to get to our adoption agency before they closed for the day.  They thoroughly reviewed all of our documents and packed them to be sent overnight to a hired courier in Washington, D.C.  This courier will take them to the U.S. Capitol, where they will be authenticated in Hillary Clinton's office, and then sent to the Chinese consulate for review.  Our agency informed us that the dossier should be back in their office by next Thursday, and they will mail it to China next Friday!  We were so excited to hear this!  It will take approximately 2 weeks to receive "LID" or a "logged in date" in China.  Once we are logged in to their system, we can be given a match!  We were told today to expect a match sometime this summer.  What great news!  Our estimated travel date is still sometime around the end of the year or beginning of 2012.

It feels very surreal - and almost unbelievable - to have the dossier out of our hands and on its way.  We have worked on these documents for so long and it always sounded like a distant goal.  My controlling nature is struggling with letting the doucments go and realizing that I have no control in what happens from here on out.  But, we have trust and faith in God to encourage us, guide us and give us the strength to prepare to be a wonderful family for Annabelle!  We have much to do to prepare - emotionally and physically - so that will fill our time!

Monday, April 25, 2011


We were VERY excited today to receive our I-800a APPROVAL notice!!!!  This basically means that we have been granted permission to adopt a child specifically from China and bring her back to the U.S. as a citizen.  After submitting our dossier to China, we will have to receive approval from the Chinese government, but having the U.S. approval is a major part of the process. We are now ready to have all our documents authenticated in Frankfort and Washington, D.C. and sent to China!

Due to other responsibilities we have this week in the afternoons, we are going to go to Frankfort tomorrow (working half the day due to state testing).  We are excited to take Alexis to the Kentucky State Capitol building for this experience!  After having our documents state certified, we will drive to Lexington and hand our dossier over to our case worker so that she can send it with a courier to Washington, D.C. 

This approval from Homeland Security is a big hurdle we can "check" off our list!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

30th Birthday and Jewelry Show!

This week I celebrated my 30th birthday, so I am now officially "old" enough to adopt from China! I had been struggling with the idea of "leaving" my twenties, but I survived the transition and was blessed with many warm wishes/gestures by family and friends this week.

We are still waiting on our approved I-800a form (hopefully ANY day now), and then we can go to Frankfort, authenticate our documents, send them to Washington, D.C. for authentication and finally send them to China!  I'm really hoping this is all able to happen within the next three weeks.  Keeping our fingers crossed!  It will be such a relief to have the paperwork all complete, so we can then wait for a match!

I also wanted to share a wonderful opportunity we were presented with by a family friend, who is also a wonderful Premier Designs Jeweler, Mrs. Kim Day.  She heard about the fundraisers we are supposed to complete, and she graciously offered to have a jewelry show at my home, and she will donate her profits to our adoption expenses via our agency.  We are very appreciative of her offer, and we feel that it is an ideal "fundraiser" for family and friends - everyone benefits!  Premier jewelry offers high-quality, beautiful pieces.  This is a great opportunity to shop for yourself, family/friends, birthday gifts, etc. - for a great cause!  We will ask our friend to send the funds raised directly to our agency, to be placed in our account, so that those who participate are assured that the monies earned are only used for adoption expenses (the fees we are currently paying will go directly to Annabelle's orphanage and some of her medical needs - they are not for the operational expenses of our agency, as those have already been paid). 

Invitations will be sent soon, but I wanted to share the date of the fundraiser on this blog.  If you are able to attend and live nearby, I hope you will consider dropping by!  I will have a variety of food for everyone - so come hungry! :-)  If you are unable to attend or leave too far away, I can collect orders prior to the party as well.  Premier offers a variety of jewelry (earrings, bracelets, necklaces, etc.) in a wide range of price points.

Premier Designs Jewelry Show and Adoption Fundraiser
Tuesday, May 10th
6:30 p.m.
Home of Laura Beth Hayes (Majestic Oaks neighborhood in Cecilia)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Frustrations and Smiles...

     I have really been struggling with my emotions and patience this week regarding our process.  I knew upfront - and I am still well aware - that waiting is a HUGE part of the adoption process.  Yet, even with the knowledge and awareness, it is still hard!  I am very much a control-freak when it comes to my plans, and I like for things to move in a sensible order in a RAPID timeframe.  I have very little patience and when I decide to do something, I want it to happen immediately...or as fast as possible.  I know that everything works in its own time, and I also believe that this will happen in God's timing, as I feel confident that we need to be matched with the little girl meant for our family.  It's just difficult, because we are as excited about welcoming Annabelle to our family as any other "expectant" parents, and the unknowns of waiting are a little challenging at times!  We were told last week that our I-800 form is still in process, and could be for many more days.  So, we are a little delayed right now.  We were hoping to mail the dossier next week, and it looks like we won't be able to until the middle or end of May at this point.  So, a match in June or July isn't as likely.  But.........at least there haven't been any problems with our forms, we moved very quickly and had few delays at the beginning of the process, and it will all be worth it once we meet Miss Annabelle! 

   I have tried to really distract myself a lot lately, working on crafts, trying to learn to sew (I made Alexis my first dress last week) and feverishly working to prepare my students for state testing which is coming up soon.  Still, for some reason, I was feeling a little frustrated tonight until I scrolled through my Facebook updates and saw the faces of some beautiful children on the Love Without Boundaries page.  LWOB is an organization that works to advocate for waiting children, sponsnors children in Chinese foster care and sponsors children at their Healing Cleft Center in China.  One of the special needs we indicated we would accept was cleft lip, so it is exciting to see all the little faces they post that are benefiting from their care and surgeries.  They frequently post pictures of babies who will be added to the "shared special needs list," which is the list we will be matched from.  Sometimes I can't help but wonder if I will see her little face on their site without knowing.  This week they posted a picture of a baby with some rice cereal that had been donated to the child's center (see photo above).  Seeing this little face, and how happy she looks, REALLY made me smile and reminded me that, even though this process is tough and grueling, many, many happy days are in store and oh, how Annabelle's life will change!  So, I have decided to smile and accept this experience as an opportunity to learn to be more patient and trusting.......
     There are many babies on LWOB's page daily that are in need of medical support, love, attention and homes.  Please keep these children in your prayers, as this is just one - of many - organizations advocating for the "unwanted" children in China.  Each picture represents hundreds that no one sees.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Anniversary and Fundraiser

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary!  We were just talking today about how drastically our lives have changed in just 8 years....new jobs, two homes, new vehicles, the birth of Alexis and now the adoption of Annabelle - not to mention many wonderful, eventful and emotional experiences in between!  We look forward to what the next eight years will bring!

We were told this week that the processing for the I-800 forms is delayed a bit, and we may not receive our approval until the end of the month.  This was a little disappointing, as it puts us nearly a month behind our "schedule," but it cannot be helped or controlled, so we will just have to wait! 

We also started a "fundraiser" for our adoption (one of the requirements for our agency) and I am creating customized bottlecap charms/necklaces.  I opened a "store" on Etsy.com and I am also selling them to friends/family.  Each charm is $4 and all the proceeds will go directly to our adoption expenses.  Check out my store when you have time - I have many other images/options available, as well.  Each necklace comes with a 24" ball chain. 

Link to shop:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Biometrics Appointment

Yesterday we had our biometrics appointment for the FBI at the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) office in Louisville.  Thankfully, it wasn't a very long appointment and, after answering a few questions and having our digital prints completed, we were finished!  We had been told that in can sometimes take hours, so we were very relieved!  Other than me forgetting that I had a Flip video camera in my purse (I use it a lot at school) that had to be confiscated by the security officers and picked up upon exiting the building, it was a very smooth experience (apparently they do not want anyone videotaping inside the building.....I always have such a random, eclectic collection of things in my purse).  The process of taking the prints was actually very interesting - it was neat to see them so enlarged and in digital format.  The immigration officer handling our prints was originally from Hardin County and graduated from West Hardin - so we had much to talk about!  They will be sent, via computer, to the FBI and then the USCIS should issue our "approval" for the I-800 form (granting us permission as suitable parents to adopt a child from a foreign country).  We are hoping to receive that notice within the next two weeks, although we know it can sometimes take much longer. Then, we will be ready to authenticate our documents in Frankfort and then send them, via a courier, to Washington, D.C. for final authentication.  We are still hoping to have our dossier finished by the end of the month, but we realize it may pushed into May.  Either way, we're getting much closer to crossing the paperwork finish line!

We also started working on decluttering our spare bedroom this weekend.  Since we are on spring break this upcoming week from school, we wanted to get some furniture and items moved into storage.  We have used our "extra room" to store many things that we don't know where else to put....so we always placed them in the spare room!  It will be Annabelle's room, so we wanted to go ahead and begin work on it.  We will need to clear out the packed walk-in closet inside the room, paint it and find new homes for many precious heirlooms sitting all over the room.  We know we have plenty of time, but it really seems to be helping Alexis understand the reality of becoming a big sister by helping us "prepare" the room.  It's fun for us, too.  Unlike a pregnancy, we have no growing "signs" that we are moving forward other than our hurdles we cross or items we check off our list.  Working in the room helps us to feel like the adoption is real, and not just a paper trail we have completed.