We had been mired in red tape with the state of Maryland and the background check that can take up to 8 weeks. It finally came in!! We then got a call stating our Home Study was sent to our agency so they can approve it prior to the social worker printing it and having it notarized.
I called the agency and they said our next set of fees were due. We sent a check in for:
CCCWA Dossier Submission Fee (Child 1) 1100
CCCWA Dossier Submission Fee (Child 2) 1100
CCCWA Translation Fee (Child 1) 260
CCCWA Translation Fee (Child 2) 00
Document Processing Fee (Child 1) 1200
Document Processing Fe (Child 2) 1200
Home Study Review Fee 150
For a total of $5010 yesterday (HOLY COW!)
I found out this morning that the director of Social Work for our agency is no longer there. SUPER! I need this approved and moved along with a quickness and this is not good. The office manager said someone requested a meeting about it. What? It is a little late to be concerned about this now. We could travel in as few as 8 weeks and this is not the time for foot dragging at all.
We needed Good Conduct Letters from local law enforcement, we get the first set and the notary stamp was set to expire in February, we needed new ones, we go in and have them re-done explaining everything. We get them back notarized with a date error (China will not accept this) AND with a March expiration on the notary stamp (China will not accept this). Today Paul will pick up another set of Good Conduct Letters and they say the notary stamp has been renewed and they will make sure to put the correct date with no cross outs. This has cost us time and I am not very pleased about it. The letters from local law enforcement need to go into your dossier sets (one for you, one for China and one for the adoption agency). They will all be authenticated at the state level and then again with the Chinese Embassy.
We have the iPad fundraiser going, for $10.00 you can get a ticket to win an iPad mini. I love my iPad! This would be the perfect size to jam into a reasonable sized purse and has a ton of apps available. Once you have an iPad you will wonder what you did without one. We just loaded my old one with a bunch of children’s apps for the girls and we will of course add a few movies for that excruciating trip home.
On the upside if we are able to get to a total of 5K in donations we will post a video of Ethan having his head shaved! Now that will be entertaining! We have an account with Reece’s Rainbow (all donations are tax deductible), checks may be sent directly to Wasatch with “Staley Family” in the memo (also tax deductible) or you can enter the drawing for the iPad mini. Lots of ways to help those little girls.
Pretty great update right?? Hope to have another one very soon!!
As I mentioned in my last post, we both took the Ebags Motherlode Jr backpacks as our carry on. They fit under the seat in front of me (which I did not expect) and I was even able to get my teeny purse mashed under there with it. I knew we would be roaming around a lot so I only brought a small cross body purse.
The packing cubes were SUPER handy! I felt like these really kept my items in check, organized and easy to locate. My feeling is if you are on the fence get a set and give it a go. I was also on the fence and I got a few sets of the Ikea ones just to try. I then bought a set of the Sharper Image ones for Paul but I ended up taking the really huge one (I mean it is GINOURMOUS) to put
all some of my fabric and sewing crap in.
Paul and I made it to California we had a pretty great time and those four days went by so fast it is a blur. We got to visit the San Diego Zoo. What an amazing zoo. We were really lucky and got to see a ton of the animals, most were out and active. While we were at the zoo I managed to stop at pretty much every little shop stand they had an buy all the little composite rubber animals I could find. I was thinking of all the different activities we could use them for. The zoo also had an amazing amount of great children’s books. I only grabbed one because we had just been to Barnes and Noble in the morning and had already bought 6 books. I can’t resist kids books and we want the girls to be readers.
For those of you in the military planning to visit the San Diego Zoo please know your active duty ID gets you in free and onto the bus tour etc. It will also get you a discount purchasing tickets for your friends and family members! That is such a great deal and makes the visit more affordable. You can get a Storipass and have pictures taken at a number of different locations throughout the park. We did buy a picture package that gave us the digital rights (AWESOME) so we could then post or print them if we wanted to. I believe it was 55.00. We had a hard time finding pictures both of us were in for our adoption dossier because I am usually taking the pictures.
Check out these amazing creations using recycled flip flops! I love this idea. They had different animals at each shop/stand in each area. They also had a selection of local wines, olive oils as well as gourmet chocolates. We did get a souvenir for our travel wall (two small animal tiles). I was a little stuck on the beaded flamingo but I finally decided I should just go with a wall item.
We apparently found the most popular BBQ joint in the area. We managed to eat there three times. In our defense.. the BBQ is amazing! The place is Phil’s BBQ and if you are in the area you can’t go wrong with either the Beefy Ribs or the Baby Back Ribs.
We were harassed by a HUGE waffle at the Waffle Spot. That is totally a Low Carber’s nightmare right there. This waffle was persistent.. I did resist however and ordered the Baja Omelet (I may or may not have licked the giant waffle once or twice). I was thinking this place is a little sketchy since it is The Waffle Spot in the morning and turns into the Amigo Spot in the evening but we were pleasantly surprised. The food was very good and the people were nice, plus it is really close by.
We visited Old Town and had a fantastic breakfast at El Patio de Old Town. I noticed very mixed reviews (depending on the site) about this place just now when I was looking for a web site to refer people to. We had a great experience and the food was very good, we watched the gal make fresh tortillas (actually the smell brought us in), everything was fresh and delicious. We both had the enchiladas. They were offering a breakfast buffet but I am very leery of buffets so this was a better choice.
While in Old Town we had a visit to the Whaley House Museum. If the name seems sort of familiar you may have seen it on a ghost/paranormal show. It is a lovely old home with an interesting history. Tickets were $6.00 and sold in the house next to the Whaley House, this also serves as the gift shop as well.
We found a pizza place and had gluten free pizza. This pizza had a nice thin crispy crust and was delicious! The place is called Project Pie. When I saw the name I was thinking Banana Cream not pizza, so glad I looked it up! We probably paid $25.00 for three personal sized gluten free pizzas. Let me just say this is more pizza for less $$ than the pizza we usually get.
I found a room at the Marriott with a kitchen. This is huge because who can continue to eat all meals out? Ok so maybe I could but I’m thinking the budget would be happier with less of that business. I made Chicken Soup and I think I will put a bunch into bags too for at least a couple meals every week while I am here. The kitchen is small but the fridge is full sized, there is also a microwave, dishwasher and cook top. To make this work we picked up a crock pot (no oven here) at Target.
The bedroom has a king sized bed and its a tight fit in there with the dresser, there is a sink space and a bathroom with tub/shower combo and toilet. Parking is a pain here and will run an extra 13.00 a night unless you are staying an entire month and in that case your parking is free says the gal at the front desk. This is a great bonus. The nickel and diming drives me nuts so I’m happy when that works out.
I made it across the boarder twice now and into Tijuana. I am taking part in a study and this has been pretty interesting. I got the results of my saliva test and it is shocking to say the least. The list of things they found boggles the mind. I will be interested to see what happens. I was able to meet a few other people there for different treatments (not part of the study), one woman was there with her son. The son had suffered an accidental gunshot to the head and was partially paralyzed on one side. After the first treatment he had he could open his hand (which has not been possible since the brain injury occurred). I am coming at a time when a lot of others will be there and I have said I will do my stuff in the lobby. Really its because I am nosey and want to visit with people and see why they are there and what results they have had. So far I’ve not met any other study participants (probably because most of them finished already, I was late or they are on a different schedule). My blood was sent to a specialty lab in Europe to be tested and I will be waiting to see those results too. I love this sort of thing.
I see a lot of folks coming to Tijuana for dental care. I am making a list of dentists to check out.
I have one last restaurant to comment on. I had plans to get out and get a haircut, find a fabric store etc but I felt a little yucky so I came back to the room and planted myself. I ordered dinner from Rays Mexican Restaurant using Eat 24. This is pretty inexpensive when I think of ordering Mexican food at home. Minimum delivery order is $25 an that is a TON of food. Seriously a ton. On the upside I have breakfast all set! The Tamale was sort of odd but delicious. I’ve never had veggies and potatoes in a tamale before, It was HUGE! I tried chicken enchiladas (I will eat that for breakfast) and a beef burrito which is HUGE and very good. This is not that craptastic burritos you usually get this doesn’t have the filler, it is pretty much all meat. Love it! That covers the trip.. I do have another update but I will write that separately.
At the last minute I found out I would be in San Diego for a month. Cue hysteria, this is not more than 30 minutes after I had set up a sewing class so I can learn to actually use the sewing machine, not to mention we are knee deep in the middle of this whole adoption thing. A really nice gal over at Quality Sewing in Federal Way graciously gave me a quick and dirty lesson and I’ve been working on my felt food for the girls.
I will drag the sewing machine and my fabric with me so I can keep myself busy. I bought the fabric to make pack and play sheets and crib railing covers. I have packed felt to make quiet book pages. We shall see if this gets done! I am not really looking forward to nearly an entire month on my own. I will be really lonely (I won’t even have a dog with me). Lucky for me Paul is coming for the first 4 days. We will have a great time running amok in a new city. I will be in San Diego for our anniversary so we are going to use this as our little anniversary get away. I doubt we will have much time for running amok together for some time after the girls arrive!
This is a little bit of a dry run using the eBags motherlode bag that everyone RAVES about. It will also be the first time I am NOT taking my big computer (laptop).. only my ipad and the surface (which we plan to do in China). I have a few packing cubes (from Ikea) and bought a set of nice ones for Paul (but ended up stealing the big one for all my fabric.. it is HUGE!). I think the Ikea packing cubes will work fine if you are not a big traveler. They are not nearly as sturdy as the ones from eBags, Dot&Dot or Sharper Image. I will potentially invest in some of those for the trip to China and use the Ikea ones for those itty bitty baby clothes!! Even itty bitty babies need packing cubes! I hate the idea that I will be gone an entire month. PPFFTT
On the adoption front: We are stuck WAITING on the State of Maryland and they take EIGHT weeks to do a background check. EIGHT WEEKS?!?! Really? That sort of deadlock for so long is totally unacceptable and completely ridiculous.
The cardiologist and the International Adoption Doctor are both writing letters to expedite our adoption. We have requested that our social worker send the home study in to our agency (before the clearance comes in) so that we are ready to go as soon as it arrives. I’m sure she will do it because she is on top of stuff. I wrote out the I-800A and the supplement (and paper clipped all the requested documents to it). Carl will be opening all the mail and letting me know what is what when it arrives. It feels like juggling or an odd game of Jenga since everything is dependent on something else and I do not want this crazy trip to interfere with our adoption.
Little Snickers woke up with an issue this morning and had to go to the vet. I hate it when our little guys are sick. Of course it would happen the day before we leave! Ok.. I am all packed and we have a car coming at 4am to whisk us to the airport. Man that is going to happen quick isn’t it? Cheers!
Don’t forget to head on over and check out the iPad promotion!! I love, love, love my iPad!
WIN AN iPAD!
We now have an iPad Mini with 16GB that will be given away to a lucky winner. There will be a runner-up prize of a $20 Amazon Gift Card. Even if you cannot donate, please help us by sharing this promotion as we are trying to adopt two special needs toddlers. Gabriella will need heart surgery once we get home. We are trying to raise the needed funds, and at this point it costs roughly $30,000 to save a life. These girls are orphans and in need of both a family and medical intervention. We would like to be that family for these two little girls.
Not Tax Deductible
To try to keep it clear and simple we listed rules and guidelines down below.
- You will be automatically entered by each $10 dollars donated directly to PayPal. We cannot track donations through other web sites so we can only do it through our direct PayPal donation link.
- The $10 dollar increments will be per donation and not thru a combination of donations.
- You must add valid contact information to be eligible to receive the prize. For example PayPal must have your current information (name, address and e-mail address) on file. If your Paypal settings are set to conceal your valid e-mail address please add your e-mail address in the comment section so we know how to contact you should you win!
- You must be in USA or Canada to be eligible
- Winners will be announced by post by as PayPal e-mail address received unless otherwise instructed thru the papal donation details.
- Donations through this promotion are not tax-deductible.
- Entries will be closed on April 17th at 11:59PM Pacific Standard Time.
- We reserve the right to extend the promotion as we purchased the iPad ourselves (this was not a donation item)
Thank you for participating and good luck!!