Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Given an incredible gift.

I thought I would share with you an incredible gift that Dave and I received on Sunday. We have been debating whether or not to take the boys to China with us.
The Pros are: 1) trip of a lifetime,
2) they get to be there for their sister on Gotcha-Day,
3) very educational,
4) still with Mommy & Daddy (i.e., Mommy wouldn't worry about them)
5) get to practice their Chinese
6) I'm sure they would have alot of fun in China and with the people of China

The Cons are: 1) the vaccine debate (do them, or risk it)
2) the cost of the extra 2 round trip fares to China
3) the length of the flights, and how to keep just-turned-6 year olds entertained
4) Alex's fussy eating habits. What would he eat in China?
5) not being able to do all of the sight-seeing that Dave and I would like to do. (For example, getting a picture taken at the Great Wall of China, is different then actually getting to climb the Great Wall of China!)
6) keeping track of them, while at the same time, taking care of Jade-Rose's needs.
7) trip of a lifetime, but will they remember it? (The only thing that I remember of age 6 is getting in trouble on the playground because I was mean to Marta Munoff)

Initially, we were not going to bring them. Then, every time I thought I about that I would cry. God forbid, anything would happen to them while we were gone, I wouldn't be able to get to them because I would be on another continent! I guess I am too much of a mother lion to risk my cub's protection.

So, then we said, OK! Let's bring them! I felt better emotionally about this, and we tried to focus on the Pros List, but you can see our Cons list is a bit longer and stronger, and I wasn't feeling better with my rational mind.

I have been praying about what to do. There are very few people in my life that I would trust with the boys. Not necessarily because I am too over-protective, but they are TWIN BOYS, and that IS a factor. They are good boys and loving boys, but they are BOYS multiplied exponentially. There is a bit of "handling" of them. We don't have any family in Florida to watch them. Most of our friends have jobs and their own families, so I would never want to impose on them. So, you can see how we were feeling a bit stuck.

Just a couple of days ago, I literally said to God, "OK God, I am leaving it up to you. I will wait to see what you want us to do with this question. If you want someone to watch the boys, you will have to show them to me."

This past Sunday, we went to the Peace in the Park festival and there were many booths along with music. One of the booths was of the Magnolia School. The boys went there for a few months this year, and their teacher Miss Pam was there. She is also the boys Sunday school teacher at our church. We were all standing around and talking, and I was asked how the adoption was going, and then Pam volunteered out-of-the-blue, "If you need someone to take care of the boys I would be happy to do it." You could have knocked me over with a feather!

Pam is one of the few people that I would trust with the boys. She already knows them very well. She knows how they behave and what they are capable of. Her kids are grown, and she is very, very responsible. Especially because we also know Pam through church, I felt this was a gift from God. If we just offer up our problems to Him, he comes up with a better plan then we ever could. Gotta love that! Now that we are getting closer to the time of travel, this is a wonderful gift and a great worry off of our minds.Thank you Miss Pam (and God)!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Very Long, but Educational Post

Hello friends-
We contacted our agency today, because we were hoping to find out what the wait estimates were, and was there anything to prepare for while we waited to hear from the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs). I am just going to post the memo that we received from our agency. It blew me away. It would have been REALLY nice if they offered this info. before we asked for it, but as you know by now, they get a big 'F' in the communications department. I am amazed at what is still involved before we can get our daughter. This feels endless....

Acceptance Paperwork- When the agency receives your LOA (Letter of Acceptance), we will mail you a packet that contains the following:

  • The LOA from CCAA
  • Legal paperwork for you to officially accept the child
  • Statement outlining fees that are due at this time
  • Completed I-800 application for you to proof read and sign
  • Completed I-864-W for you to proof read and sign
  • Completed DS-230 for you to proof read and sign
  • Power of Attorney (if you plan for only one parent to travel) (not relevant for us)
  • Visa Application
  • Travel Packet (Information for you to read about your trip to China)

Begin Planning Your Trip- You still have several weeks ahead of you before travel, however now is a good time to get in contact the In China Facilitator. Introduce yourself and let her know who you are adopting and where your child is from. If you would like to visit your child’s orphanage or finding site, please let her know at this time so that she can get pre-approval to do so. She will make appointments for you with the provincial office, and can help you make your hotel reservations. If you prefer not to carry cash with you on your trip, you can wire these funds to her and she will take care of payments for you.

I-800 Application- When the agency receives the acceptance paperwork back from you, we will file your I800 application with USCIS. This is different than your previously filed I-800-a. Your I-800-a approved you as a family. Your I-800 will approve the specific child that you will adopt. When your application has been processed, USCIS will send your approval to you in the mail. Please contactthe agency when you receive this to make sure that we have received a copy. If not, you will need to fax or email us a copy. The time frame from submission of application to receipt of approval is approximately 2-3 weeks.

Chinese Visa Application- While waiting for your I-800 approval you must apply for a visa from the Chinese Consulate. The acceptance packet will contain information on how to do this.

National Visa Center (NVC) Process- Once your I-800 has been approved, USCIS will send your paperwork to the NVC. After they have processed your case, they will forward your paperwork to the US Consulate in Guangzhou. You will receive a confirmation of this in the mail. Please email or fax a copy of this to the agency. We must have a copy of this before we can proceed.

US Consulate Process- Once the agency receives your NVC letter; we will send your paperwork to our facilitator in Guangzhou. She will hand deliver your documents to the US Consulate. It will take the consulate 2 weeks to process your paperwork. The facilitator will then pick up your documents and send them to CCAA. We will then await your Travel Approval (TA).

Travel Approval and Consulate Appointment- After your paperwork has been sent to CCAA, it will take approximately 4 weeks to receive TA. This will be sent to the agency. We will call you when it arrives and begin to make travel arrangements. You will need to let the agency know when you would like to leave for China. We will then request a consulate appointment accordingly.

As you can see, there is still so much that has to be done.... and so much of it will be out of our hands. Speaking of hands.. please pray for us, sincerely. Pray that we are one of the families where all of the remaining steps, including the I-800 and TA approvals, move quickly and effortlessly. We are in God's hands now, and we need His help to move things along. Please ask him on our behalf.

I'm sorry for the length of today's post, but for those of you who are reading this blog because you want to learn about the China adoption process or are involved in the process, I like to share as much for the educational aspect as for the personal. When I read this memo today... I had NO idea so much was still involved. I really had no idea this process would take so long.....

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