Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, Alexis and Adoption Process Update

It's been a while since I posted, but we have had a very busy February!  February is one of my favorite months because of Alexis' birthday!  She turned FOUR this past Monday, which is incredibly hard for me to believe.  I can so vividly remember the weeks and days leading up to her birth and my constant worrying and fear after she was born!  She has blessed and enriched our lives in so many ways and we are proud of the "little girl" she has become (although I still think of her as my baby).  Here's a peek at our "cowgirl" and her birthday celebration...

Our adoption process made some leaps forward this month, too!  After getting our I-800 approval, Jaxson's case/file was sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing.  After it is approved, it has to be "cabled" to the American Embassy in China.  Around eight days after our I-800 approval was issued, we received an email that stated his case had been sent to China.  A day later we received an email with an approval letter attached.  This is what is known as being "cabled" and receiving the NVC "pdf" in the Chinese adoption world.  We were thrilled and immediately forwarded the letter to our agency.  Unfortunately, our agency responded over the weekend that his name was written incorrectly on the letter, so we needed to contact the NVC on Tuesday (closed Monday for the holiday) and ask them to correct the mistake.  What sounded like an easy fix became a huge drama on Tuesday morning.  After numerous phone calls and emails (and a few tears), it was all straightened out and we received our corrected letter.  Jaxson's Article 5 paperwork was "dropped off" at the American embassy on Tuesday and is scheduled to be "picked up" on March 6th (standard wait).  This is the documentation that will allow us to take custody of him upon meeting him in China.  It is the LAST step before TRAVEL APPROVAL is issued.  We are getting so much closer!

   We have a LOT to do in the next several weeks in order to be prepared (physically and emotionally).  We are so very, very excited, anxious and relieved to be this far in the process.  However, we are also nervous and overwhelmed right now (in a good way).  I am very thankful for all of the supportive and encouraging friends/family members we have, as well as all of my cyber "friends" I have met through this process!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Family Pictures and I-800 approval!

I love these new family photos we had taken by my high school friend, Kirstie Goodman.  She is very talented and I think she captured Alexis' excitement about being a "big sister" very well!

     We are also excited that we reached another milestone in our "timeline" of steps in the adoption process.  We heard from our USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) officer that she approved our I-800 application (petition to classify treaty adoptee as immediate relative).  We had I-800a approval back in late April, but it was only for an unknown child.  After receiving the LOA (Letter of Acceptance), we could officially apply for Jaxson's specific approval.  That was the last set of documents that we really have to complete.  Now we will wait for his file to be sent to the National Visa Center (usually takes 5-10 days, I think).  They will cable his visa information to China, where our agency representative will "drop off" and "pick up" something called our Article 5.  Once it is picked up, it will be delivered to the proper Chinese adoption officials and we will wait for our Travel Approval!!!  We have more waiting, but this part of the process is generally predictable and more reliable as far as timelines are concerned.

We have a "travel meeting" with our agency next Wednesday, so we are anxious to talk about specifics regarding our travel.  We're getting closer every day!