Our Baby

2 years and counting......

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Care Package Sent

Today we sent our care package. It included a doll, blanket, Pj's, a plush rabbit, some candy for her nannies, and a camera. It is my hope that they will take pictures of her now, then we can bring the camera home and develop after we get her. We also sent a bag to keep all her belongings together in, and a soft photo album of us. We included and individual picture of ourselves, one of us together, a couple of her room, and one of our home, and a letter to her from us. It is unclear how much she will really understand, but it is my hope that she will become familiar with our faces. I wish I could have sent pics of Lucy and Heidi, but I am a little unclear exactly what they think of dogs as house pets in the area that she lives. She will have plenty of time to get to know them later. I am still hoping for some pictures!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

They call her "Ying Ying"

I was excited to get some updates today on our little girl!! Today, she turned 18 months old. I was however disappointed that the updates did not come with new pictures. But here is what we know so far. She is 29 inches tall. She weighs 18.5 pounds. Her feet is 13 cm, and we calculate this to be 5 inches. We wonder if this is acurate? She drinks milk in the morning and at bedtime, eats 3 meals a day consisting of rice ceral and congee soup - not sure about snacks and other food items. We have to figure out how to make this *congee soup* as this seems to be a main staple in her diet. She is still drinking from a bottle, although drinks soup with a spoon. We asked about her cleft palate- it is described as a third degree cleft, although in the US- they are not described in this way. They all are different in severity and uniqueness. However, reassuring is that her caregivers indicate that it does not affect her daily life much and she has had no major illnesses - described as "hardly ever sick" which is good because cleft babies can frequently be sick with respiratory illness and ear infections. She gets up just after 6am. She naps at 12. She goes to bed at 1030! Oh my, she is a night owl! We do know from our original referral paperwork she is a heavy sleeper and sucks her fingers. She sleeps in a crib with other children. She is not potty-trained. She is only walking with assistance, but her caregivers think that she will be independent soon. Her caregivers have nicknamed her Ying Ying. She does not cry much. She likes to watch TV and listen to music - we know from our previous referral update that she is fond of imitating what she sees and hears. She can say Mamma. She gets along well with all the caretakers and other children. Now we asked if we could get updated pictures, and we were told yes. So hopefully, they are soon to follow? It sounds like she needs some TLC.

We got all of our paperwork done last weekend. YEAH! A huge weight is lifted. I think that we have just a few blanks to fill in once we have our travel dates and hotel information. We are still waiting on our travel invitation, which usually comes about 4-5 weeks after LOA.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A mound of paperwork, and more paperwork, and more paperwork.......

So I had a telephone conference with our Social Worker today, to go over all the additional paperwork that came with our Letter of Acceptance. Wow. We can now apply for our visa to travel to China! We have other paperwork regarding her vaccinations, that has to be signed and notarized. Thank goodness, that one will be easy. Then, paperwork to apply for her passport and visa, sign these pages, but wait and sign these pages in China. Make copies of this but not that. And the pen that we sent you in the mail, make sure you use it now and you take it with you. You have to use the pen in China! DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PENS I GO THROUGH IN A DAY! I LOSE PENS ALL THE TIME! What pressure! All signatures in black ball point ink! Then, lets see- there is the matter of paperwork for the US to recognize her as an orphan. Then, she must have paperwork for her medical exam. Make sure to call the travel agency and tell them you have your Letter of Acceptance, and we are just waiting on your travel invitation from China! OH MY LORD! And then, lets go over the the I600, the I604, DS-230 part 1 and 2; the I-864W, and the brown envelope (not to be confused with the clear envelope). Wait, I don't even have those forms yet! I am trying to breathe, one page at a time, I will get it done.
I stay buried in paperwork everyday at Cancer Care. I have a Master's Degree. I spent 3 years doing paperwork for school. Nothing has ever been so overwhelming or intimidating to me. One little mistake can carry HUGE consequences. Bethany is really good- they try to make it as easy as possible- lots of examples- but I can't help being worried about this.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

List of Questions

Mike and I are able to submit a list of questions to our daughter's orphanage. We have a list of the basic things regarding health, size, allergies, illness, etc. We also plan to ask for new pictures. We can ask about 15 questions, any suggestions? This is so important to me, and I am afraid that I am going to forget something that would have been really important to know.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What to give a 17 month old girl?

So I woke up this morning- and just remembered that since we have our official LOA, we can now send our little girl gifts from "Mommy and Daddy."
What do you send a 17month old? We can send her pictures of us and her new home, and other pictures that may be pertinent to her new life. I am not sure at 17 months old, how much she is really going to comprehend. Any suggestions?
I also have to keep in mind that the orphanage may decide to keep some of what we send, especially clothes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


We received our official documents from China today. We have OFFICIALLY accepted our little girl! Here is what an official document from The People's Republic of China looks like

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

L!!!! O!!!!! A!!!!!!!!!!

For those of you that have been in my shoes, you know what LOA means! This is a big, HUGE, GINORMOUS step in the international adoption process. I have whined and carried on about wanting to get ours, knowing very well that it could take up to 40 days plus. Well today, I had just settled in to teach my CPR class - my fellow co-workers, students all around. And the call from my social worker came. Sometimes caller ID is good, but every time she calls I can't help but get that sinking feeling. And truthfully, in the back of my mind, I did not believe she could be calling to tell us our LOA was coming! Oh my gosh!! Heaven is smiling down on me today! It came exactly 15 days after our pre approval! WOW! I could hardly breathe I was so excited!!!!
So, our paperwork will be hand delivered to the house sometime tomorrow. There is one document - the one that says YES WE WANT HER has to be sent back immediately. It has to be overnighted to Grand Rapids by Friday lunch. I was told it is so important that we get it there on time- to please NOT use the USPS! We have to use FedEx. So I did not know that overnight with the USPS is not always guaranteed, even though it is? Interesting. Well, I will get it there if I have to drive it myself!
There is a lot more paperwork to do beyond that SURPRISE. We are still waiting to hear from immigration- hopefully they are working hard since they are now centralized?
Our social worker also wants me to hold off on posting her picture publicly for now. We don't want to jeopardize anything to do with her adoption. It kind of reminds me of the "HIPPA" laws. HOWEVER, I can include her in a personal email. So instead of posting her pics, I will try to post more about her as I have time. She is such a darling! Her personality, what we have been told, is such a good match. I just can't wait to meet her! ONE STEP CLOSER!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

And to beat the heat-

Check out Miss Lucy's new toy!!

New Toys-

We decided that being a toddler, our little girl is probably going to need some new toys. So Mike and I went shopping. Check out her new kitchen- complete with *real* burner and cell phone, and all the cooking utensils and play food you could possibly need! I guess Mike is ready to teach her how to cook!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The countdown begins....

The next step in our process is the LOA, or "Letter of Acceptance." This is the *official* approval from China. Once we have this, we can post our little girls photo here on our blog and share more information about her. The average wait from our *PA* to *LOA* is about 35 days. The shortest time reported recently has been 10 days. The longest is 199 days. Families that are considered *pre-Hague* have a slightly shorter wait time, as there are less steps in the whole process. Thank the Lord that we are still considered *pre-Hague.* Tomorrow will be day 10. Here's hoping that we stay on this side of the curve!

Friday, July 2, 2010

What did we get today?

PRE-APPROVAL!!!!! I got up this morning and decided, "Lord, I can't take it anymore!" I got on Bethany's website and sent an email to the *china team* and asked for some information. We have seen other folks getting their *PA* within hours or just a couple of days after the letter of intent submission. What about us? Both my social workers are out of the office, it is almost a holiday soon - I want some news!!! Yes, I am impatient. So, did not really think I 'd hear anything, but emailing made me feel a little better. Well, at about 10-ish today, Susan calls me in my office and tells me that my agency is on the phone. WHAT!!!!?????? My heart sank. The last time I got a call like that, it was bad news. However today, it was the best news ever! Jaclyn with our China Team was calling- she got my email, and was calling to say that we got our pre-approval on JUNE 28TH and she was sorry we had yet to hear! OH MY LORD! I could not believe it! We had a wonderful conversation and she was glad to hear me sounding so much better these days. Last time we talked on the phone, I could hardly speak because I could not stop crying. What a wonderful turn of events. I am so happy! Is it finally going to happen? Is our little girl finally coming home?