Sunday, January 29, 2012

Year of the Dragon!

We recently celebrated Chinese New Year with a group of adoptive families in Hardin County.  We had much to celebrate, as we had just received our Letter of Acceptance (LOA) for Jaxson!  We went to a local Chinese restaurant for dinner and a great visit with the other families.  My sister made the most adorable panda cupcakes that Alexis got to share with all the other kiddos in the group. 

     I ended up being sick on the actual date of Chinese New Year, so we didn't celebrate at home.  However, I did order Alexis her own Chinese silk dress, and we gave her a red envelope with some money in it (a Chinese New Year tradition). 
     We also having been completing a lot of paperwork since receiving the long-awaited LOA.  Immediately after receiving it, we had to complete our I-800, which is a petition to US Immigration to bring Jaxson here as a US citizen.  We had I-800a approval to bring a child here, but this form is specific to Jaxson.  There were several other documents that had to be filed, and it was exciting to write his official "English" name on one of them!  In addition to his documents, we also filed our visa applications via a courier in Chicago. We should be receiving those toward the end of this week. 

     Now we are waiting on I-800 approval, which should come in a couple of weeks.  Once we have it, there are a couple of steps (NVC cable, Article 5 paperwork) before China will issue us our TRAVEL approval (TA!)  Once the I-800 approval comes, things will start moving fast.  I feel like we have so much to do!  We're very excited! 

It was a bit of a whirlwind in the days following

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Give me an L! Give me an O! Give me an A!

What's that spell?  L-O-A!  Hooray!!!!!!  After 94 long days of wondering when it would come, if it would come, what was going on, came!  Our agency was even surprised it came before Chinese New Year.  It was mailed to our agency, so they are overnighting it to us, and we will receive it tomorrow with more specific instructions as to what our "next steps" will be.  We were told to plan for travel in about 3 months.  It is all still a little surreal, but so very exciting.  I had to keep processing the phone conversation and replaying it my mind for it to seem believable. 

This next phase is the part I have not let myself get excited or anxious about, or even give much thought to at all!  I've definitely got some research to do and plans to start regarding travel, as well as making sure we have everything we need when we return home (such as carseats for both of them). 

To celebrate tonight, we went to a local restaurant in Glendale called Tony York's on Main. 

I'll post more about the next phase of the process tomorrow! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

LOA update

On Friday, we heard from our agency that our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) was in its final phase of processing.  WHAT A RELIEF!  At that point, we had heard nothing about our LOA for 91 days!  That's a long time to wait for a piece of paper with no word on where it is or when you will receive it.  Our agency is wonderful - and they have done all they can.  It's just not their standard practice to check on the status of the LOA before 90 days.  I was so worried that something was wrong with our paperwork, that it was "stuck" in one of the phases.  I had bad dreams that our dossier had just been lost or thrown was such a relief to know that this long, horrible waiting game is drawing to an end!  Chinese New Year will likely still complicate us receiving it very soon, but at last we know it will be coming! 

Once we receive the LOA, we can move forward with the final phases of the process!  We can't wait!  We are HOPING to travel late April or early May, at this point.  However, like all phases of this 13-month process, we will just have to wait and see.

I received a wonderful gift from a family/teacher friend of mine during Christmas - a copy of the book, Big Bird in China!  Alexis has really enjoyed reading this with me every night.  We promised her a "movie night" tonight, since we don't have school tomorrow, so the movie version of the book is what we plan to watch.  Alexis has enjoyed learning how to say "hello and goodbye," as well as a few other phrases.  It's so neat to be able to show her video footage of places that she will actually get to see during our trip.  I'm having a hard time convincing her that Big Bird isn't going to be there, though. :-)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Care Package Pictures!

Unfortunately we didn't get any news this week about our LOA (day 90 tomorrow), but I was surprised this morning to receive PICTURES of Jaxson opening his Chinese New Year package that we sent last week!  It was a wonderful way to start the day and I was thrilled to see how proud he looks wearing his new outfit.  It even appears that they gave him new shoes to wear with it, too.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chinese New Year Care Package

We sent Jaxson a care package at the end of October so that he would receive it on his November 4th birthday.  We received wonderful pictures from that package delivery, which we posted on here in November.  For Christmas, we sent a package directly to a contact we had in China, but unfortunately, the package never arrived.  We sent it according to the directions we were given, but it never reached our contact.  We're still not sure what happened....we are just very disappointed he didn't receive his Christmas gifts, as we had hoped.

So, for Chinese New Year, I decided to use a care package service again.  I wanted to be sure he received it, as I know CNY is a big tradition in China!  I have attached pictures below of the care package contents.  The care package service has requested pictures, so I hope that we will receive some updated pictures in the next few weeks! ;-)

For those of you keeping up with our status, no LOA still.  Today is day 85.  We are getting very close to the 90-100 day "average" that our agency keeps giving us.  Keep your fingers crossed.....we REALLY want to have it before the New Year holiday, or else it will be delayed for at least a week.

We are planning to go to one of our local Chinese restaurants near CNY (January 23rd) to celebrate with our international adoption support group.  I really enjoy spending time with all the kiddos and their wonderful families.

Here is the care package.  It includes a traditional outfit for Jaxson (it is customary that children wear new clothing for the holiday), candy for the foster parents, a panda for Jaxson, a letter from us that has been translated (I wish I could see it closer), and a traditional CNY card for the foster family.