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Tax Deductible!!

Tax-deductible donations can be made directly to our agency! Just indicate “STALEY FAMILY ADOPTION” in the memo and mail to:

Wasatch Adoptions
1140 36th Street #204
Ogden, UT 84403

Thank you for helping to bring our little angels HOME!

Help us Adopt!!

We are looking to adopt two little girls who are special needs from China. Please help us raise money to cover the expensive costs or donate to support us to do various things. Keep up to date here: http://bissynut.com/fundraiser Are you thinking why so much??!! More information here. http://bissynut.com/adoption-expenses

Projects, Diaper Bag Swag, Quiet Books and Busy Bags

 

While I was stuck in San Diego for a month (mostly all by myself) I did do a lot of little felt food projects. I made items for busy bags and pages for quiet books.  The pages above aren’t all finished yet and clearly I was “winging” it. I’m hoping to have at least one book finished by the time we head to China. Of course I have so many little “projects” to do and stuff to clean out, grant applications to fill in and regular house “stuff” that needs to get done I’m not sure I’ll have enough time. But that is my goal anyway.

I LOVE Etsy. I find things made by the most clever folks. Recently I was on Etsy looking for Busy Bag ideas and came across a great store called Curious Minds Busy Bags.  They have fabulous ideas for Busy Bags, they have a lot that are Montessori. I ordered the Feed Me Busy Bag in Ladybug and Bee. That Bee looks a little suspicious! When they came in the mail the shop owner had added a card telling me that they also have a Curious Minds Web site with even more options.  Seriously I could spend a ton of money there. The prices are reasonable but shipping looks like it would add up (of course doesn’t it always?).  I also found that Curious Minds Busy bags is on Amazon and Ebay. Seriously they are everywhere I shop.

Step 2 Lifestyle Deluxe Kitchen

My plan for their first Christmas home is a play kitchen and then felt food items. I know those play kitchens get played with a lot and are a favorite for years to come. I hope to get the girls into “cooking” while I’m cooking. I know those play kitchens and play food are popular for YEARS so I think it would be a good investment and provide a lot of play time.

I had what seemed like an infinite amount of hours to fret over what we still need to do, things we still need to gather, and worry about not having enough stuff (as ridiculous as that might sound) for the girls.  When you have a baby you sort of gather as you go along and by the time that baby is a toddler you have all the toddler .. crap. I did have a ton of kid stuff and I’m sorry I got rid of lots of it now. I have fussed around about the fingerprinting appointments, the I-800a that we still do not have the approval on, the next set of I-800 papers and the grant applications I want to turn in (Keep your fingers crossed). I sent one yesterday and I have one to send in today and maybe another tomorrow.

I know we still need a table and chair set and two big girl chairs for the living room. I’m hoping activities can happen at the little table and TV time can happen in the little chairs. I remember hauling my chair to the living room to watch cartoons when I was a little girl, and I remember the kids table with the apple pattern on it that all of us kids sat at for Christmas dinner.

I want to pick up two Cozy Coupe ride on toys because every toddler loves those darn things.

We have been amassing a large board book library. In San Diego I found a couple of sweet little books.  The first one is Good Night! and the Second is Peas on Earth. Both are just too cute and I couldn’t pass them up.

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Meal kit for two

I put together a “meal kit” for the diaper bag. The each includes two silicone bibs, 2 silicone table mats, utensils that you can wash or toss, two pouch spoons and two fresh food feeders. I stuffed all of this in a Ju-Ju-Be “Be Quick” Bag. I know a lot of folks use the disposable bibs but with two toddlers I thought I’d be buying those things all the time so I’d be better off getting something that was easy to just wipe clean and use again.

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In a separate medium Ju-Ju-Be “set” bag I’m keeping all of my extra wipes. Boogie Wipes, antibacterial wipes, Kleenex splasher wipes and a Kleenex pack. I guess I will be ditching the handbag in favor of a baby bag for a while.

I’m loving the Ju-Ju-Be bags and accessories. We will not be discussing exactly how many Ju-Ju-Be items I’ve purchased.  Most on the Facebook B/S/T site (Buy Sell Trade) and the Ju-Ju-Be Pink Room. The best part is you can get custom items like seatbelt straps, “boxlets”, Quicklets, Key Chains, Ouch Pouches, holders for your EOS or lip balm. You can pick up long discontinued accessories like the bottle rocket (I would love a couple of those) and the wardrobe station. You can even find items in discontinued patterns.

The Admiral BRB

New patterns come out all the time. REALLY love the new legacy series The Admiral print! Paul needs this, its cute and not too girly.

Tula Carnival

Tula Baby Carrier in Carnival

 

I was hoping I would be able to get my Tula there too. However the Facebook B/S/T forums for Tula had the carriers alright, but they were asking WAAYYY over retail for them. Some going for over a THOUSAND dollars. WHAT?!?! Its cute but it is after all only a baby carrier. I removed myself from both Tula groups as soon as I saw it was just too rich for my blood. I found a cute standard Tula in stock and bought it.  See above for the print I ended up with. I had no clue they were so crazy popular. Tula often sells out within MINUTES of re-stocking. MINUTES folks. Of course now that I’ve seen Isabella’s last update I wonder if I should have gotten a toddler size as well (25-50 lbs).  PPFFTT

 

 

One Step Forward and Two Back, aka the Adoption two-step

FingerprintWe had submitted our i-800a to USCIS and were waiting for our fingerprint appointment cards to arrive. Both Carl and I got ours in the mail on Monday. USCIS says maybe they were separated and will show up Tuesday. They were not in the mail on Tuesday either. WHAT? I called the post office and spoke to James, told him what was going on and what I was looking for. James called me back seriously not even 30 minutes later with Paul’s missing fingerprint cards. WHOO HOO!! Paul grabbed them on his way home from Fred Meyer and we were in business!

Last night I submitted our request for an expedite to USCIS with the evidence that Gabby has a serious heart issue and needs care NOW. You can not submit for an expedite until you have your fingerprint appointment cards.

This morning we piled in the Kia and drove to the Seattle USCIS office in Tukwila. We were attempting a “Walk in” because our actual appointment was set for 2 weeks from now.  Thankfully they allowed it and said nothing. We were in and out in about 45 minutes.

When we arrived home I had an e-mail waiting that not only had we been assigned an officer but we had been approved for a medical expedite. YES!

Then things went a little sideways. I get another e-mail this afternoon that a few things were missing from our home study and need to be added via an addendum. They all surround Carl. Apparently there was some language missing that he had not had any previous home studies and that he had been informed that he had a duty to report any changes in his circumstance.  That last bit is actually covered in the I-800a supplement 1 but okay.  Nothing about his health was stated either. So now we need to find out of he needs the whole medical exam and blood work or if she can just write her impressions (based on what the request for evidence said, that’s what it SOUNDS like).

I am so amped up over this I e-mail the Home Study Agency, the social worker that did the home study.  I asked on our FB group and then called both the agency and then the SW. We should have some sort of resolution tomorrow. This will slow our approval by at least a week, maybe more. GRRR.

What no one tells you is that adoption is NOT for the faint of heart. It is frustrating and tedious, the red tape alone threatens to be your undoing. You are on the edge of your seat for every twist and turn. I cringe every time the phone rings and it’s Wasatch. I’m terrified that they will be calling to tell me something has happened to Gabriella.  Several parents in our group have been on the receiving end of a similar call, so you worry all the time about a little person on the other side of the earth that you’ve never even met.

 

 

USCIS Official Acceptance

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On March 9th USCIS received our Fed Ex package with our I-800A. March 11th we received the official acceptance notice. We are now waiting on the fingerprinting appointment. Unfortunately this step is not expedited and we will not get approval or denial of our expedite until after we do the fingerprint appointment.

If this seems like Deja Vu it totally is.. you do have to be fingerprinted twice (and pay twice) during this process. This feels like nickel and diming to me, we should not need to pay for fingerprints twice, they are not going to change in two months.  There are an awful lot of steps that are doubled, the adoption process needs to be streamlined and prices decreased so more kids can find families. I know, I know I am ranting again but it drives me mad.

UPDATE On Miss Isabella

I paid for an orphanage call with Ladybugs and Love, I got the update and was so excited I screamed and scared Bethany half to death (she was still sleeping).

They sent over 4 pictures, a one minute video and answers to a few questions I asked. Waiting is absolutely excruciating and any picture or shred of information is heaven.  I have a few more questions to ask but these were all on my list.

What is her favorite food?

Bing Jie doesn’t especially like anything. She eats everything given to her.

Is she a picky eater?

No, she’s not.

Is she allergic to any foods?

Not what we found.

Is she allergic to any medications?

She’s been very healthy, doesn’t take medicine often, so we’ve not found she’s allergic to any medication.

Does she have a favorite toy?

She likes soft balls or soft blocks. She likes to hold toys in her arms.

What kind of formula is she on?

She takes various brand formula.

What makes her feel better when she is upset?

She doesn’t get upset often, unless she’s hungry. She will suck her fingers when she’s upset. Pick her up and walk around makes her feel better.

Has she been healthy?

Yes.

Does she take a pacifier?

She doesn’t take pacifier. She sucks her thumb.

 

Her updated measurements from Mar 6.

Height: 85cm; Weight: 11.5kg; Head: 48cm; Chest: 53cm; Teeth: 10; Foot: 11cm.    (25.3 lbs  and 33 inches tall)

 

What is her daily schedule?

6:00am   Mouth care

6:30am  congee plus hard boiled egg.

8:30am  get up

8:30-9:00am exercise

9:00-9:20am extra meal: Steamed egg.

9:20-20-10:30am activities

10:30am wash hands great ready for lunch.

11:00am lunch and clean. Nutrition meals or food made from flour (such as Chinese dumplings).

12:00-1:30pm Nap time

2:00pm Get up, drink water, eat fruit.

2:00-4:20pm free activity time, exercise, play her favorite toys or play games with other children and the caregivers.

4:20-4:30pm ready for dinner

4:30pm dinner (same as lunch)

5:00-7:00pm watch TV

7:30pm take a bottle of formula (Nestle) 250ml.

8:30pm go to bed. she sleeps well.

 

**There is still time to participate and help bring Isabella and Gabriella home, head on over to the win an ipad page and enter to win an ipad mini. Tickets are only $10, not only can you win a great prize we, you will be helping bring two little girls get a family.

Sea World Adventure

I picked Bethany up at the airport at 9am Monday, we dropped of her bags at the room and headed out for a Sea World Adventure. We have military ID, so we were allowed entrance free of charge. The usual charge for adults is $89.00. Parking is another $16.00 ($21.00 for “up front” parking). There are a number of “upgrades” to your Sea World visit. The only thing we added was the dining plan $34.99 (If purchased online you could save $5.00 each plan).

Here is my honest review. I would have been livid had I paid $89 per person to get in. This is close to what you pay to get into Disneyland and there is not nearly the amount of activities, rides, shows etc to constitute that much money.  I had heard a few very negative comments about Sea World just prior to going, I honestly cannot say I personally saw anything that said animal mistreatment to me. In fairness I have not seen the suggested documentary, so it is not for me to say.

I did think the whales were absolutely breathtaking. It was really exciting to see them. My favorites were the Beluga Whales and the Dolphins. The dolphins were really smart and we watched them play with each other during free time.

I was disappointed in the number of stores/stands and restaurants that were not open. The vast majority of items for sale at the various gift shops were crap. This was a shock after seeing the variety and quality of items available at the San Diego Zoo.  I did buy a number of the composite rubber animals but I was looking for a nice souvenir and a non cheesy magnet (never found that).

They did not have the areas with board books for all the different animals (this is a missed opportunity for Sea World).

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The Dining Plan: The low down, if you are going to be at the park all day and eat more than one meal, get the plan.  Every time through the line you are allowed one entrée, one side or one dessert and a drink. You can go through the line more than once. You do not need to get everything every time.  Example of sides: Salads, Watermelon, Pineapple or Strawberry Cups.

The caveat is that apparently the dining plan only works at the four main restaurants at Sea World. Shipwreck Reef Café, Calypso Bay Smokehouse (Baby Back ribs are not on the plan), Café 64 and Mama Stella’s Pizza Kitchen. We went to one at the end called Pineapple Pete’s, it looks like a big restaurant but apparently was not. It also had the worst food hands down in the entire park. The only upside was the pineapple.  The dining plan works for drinks, desserts and snacks but ONLY from the 4 main restaurants. They should fix this.

We tried the Shipwreck Reef Café and got cheeseburgers (pretty good) and a bottled water. That was actually breakfast, then we tried  BBQ at the Calypso Bay Smokehouse for lunch. I had the brisket and Bethany got the chicken. I thought it was very good. Better than I had expected.

We stopped for coffee at Seaside Coffee and Bakery – my advice DON’T do it. Its a Starbucks (not really, its licensed to the park) and I got bitter awful coffee (undrinkable) and moldy butter. So how long exactly does butter need to sit to get moldy? Disgusted and unimpressed.

We rode the Manta Rollercoaster.. twice. Loved it. Great suspense building. We petted manta rays of all sizes.

We saw penguins of every type both inside and outside. They are so cute! The walrus was enormous with big tusks and whiskers. He caught a fish and was playing with his food at the window.

We saw sea turtles enjoying the sunshine, a miniature octopus, some piranhas and a lot of other fish. All in all we had a great day and saw a lot of things.  We stayed at the park for 5 hours, but a visit would not necessarily take that long. If you go do make time to see the Shamu show, it is 20 minutes and really amazing to get to see the whales.

They do have a good size area for the smaller children including a bouncy house, a huge play structure with climbing ropes and tunnels, a “Block pit” filled with large foam blocks. There is a little “sprinkler” type fountain for the kids to play in and several rides fit for any tot. I was impressed by the area.

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Not Tax Deductible
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Not Tax Deductible

SPENT TO DATE: $14,251



ADOPTION TIMELINE

Oct 10 Saw "Elsa's" profile for the first time

Dec 1 Saw Paisley's little face and asked for her file

Dec 15th Got files for Paisley and another girl from agency

Dec 16th Read files and called to find IA doctor

Dec 17th I spent all day on e-mail and the phone with IA doctor

Dec 19th we sent a check for $600 and official application to the Agency

Dec 22nd we got an e-mail we had been approved by the Agency

Dec 22nd I wrote a Letter of Intent for the CCCWA that we intend to adopt Zou Bing Jie

Dec 23 we finished the Agency contracts and paid $140 to have 14 signatures notarized (OMG!)

Dec 26 Sent contracts and $3500 International program fee to Agency - Lucky for us Zou Bing Jie has already been locked to us

Dec 27-Jan 5 CCCWA will be closed so NOTHING will happen.

Jan 4 H.S Agency Suspended

Jan 8 Received P.A. from China

Jan 19 Found Fu Chen You on Shared File

Jan 21 Wrote LOI for Fu Chen You

Jan 31 Home Study Visit and Paid $1550

Feb 2 Received P.A. for Fu Chen You

Feb 4 Home Study Visit

Feb 22 Home Study Finished by SW

Feb 25 Home Study Approved by Agency

Mar 6 Picked up Home Study

Mar 6 Sent I800A

Mar 9 USCIS Received i-800a via Fed Ex

Mar 11 Official USCIS notice I-800a Received

Mar 24 Finally have all Fingerprint cards

Mar 25 Did a walk in at USCIS Biometrics

Mar 25 USCIS approved our Expedite

Mar 25 Received USCIS RFE