We were issued LOA (AKA Soft LOA) on May 25th. Usually the hard copy LOA shows up a couple days later. Our gal at he agency called DHL and they told her it will not be to the agency until tomorrow. AARRGGHH
I got on to our expedite group and the feeling is that we should travel about 14 days after hard LOA. Wait what? Mind you this is NOT what the agency is saying. Breathe in, Breathe out.
We have the last bit of the financing figured out thanks to Paul’s family.. and not a minute too soon. Can you believe it!?!? We could leave as soon as 14 days from tomorrow. Breathe in, Breathe out. FOURTEEN DAYS!?!? I have no earthly idea where the time went. It was taking forever and all of a sudden BAM, it is about time to PACK.
Wait I don’t have enough books and I probably don’t have enough toys. I’m not done sewing the crib rail covers (my machine FREAKED out today half way through the first one and now I have no idea what the issue is so I will need to take it to be looked at), and I haven’t even started the pack and play sheets. AARRGGHH. I do not feel prepared. I listened to videos and read about Parenting with connection.. but it isn’t sticking yet.
There are a million things on my To Do list.. I am FREAKING OUT.
We requested an update through Bridge of Love, which I think is part of the CCCWA. I wanted to use the same company (Ladybugs and Love) we used before but another family at our agency did something with a third party provider (not the one we used) and apparently it caused a HUGE ordeal. So I chose the safe path and used Bridge of Love for this update.
We only needed an update on little Miss Gabby girl to see if she is on oxygen etc. Thankfully she is not but she is having an issue with bronchitis and is having medication and treatment for that issue.
As part of our update we requested and paid for pictures. They sent pictures of her holding our picture (so they have told her she has a family coming to get her!).
We are going to use Ladybugs and Love to both girls a care package this week. I’ve been working on a letter to send to the director of each orphanage. Its hard to know exactly what we want to say. I’m going to include a thumb drive and a toddler soft photo book with 6 pictures inside.
There are a lot of options when it comes to care packages and I had one idea originally but after reading what others have said we chose NOT to send stuffed toys, blankets etc. I feel like those things are hard to keep track of and keep clean for the orphanage staff (we don’t want to cause even more work for them). It also marks our girls as kids who have a family when they get a ton of “special items”. It might make US feel better to send a large package but I don’t want either girl to be singled out by an older child that was not chosen or not eligible for adoption. We also recently learned that some orphanage workers were orphans themselves and sometimes feel bitter when a child is chosen for adoption. That is horribly sad.
Do you just adore Gabriella’s sweet little face?
We got word this past week that our dossier is in “Matching” status, which is a little strange since we are actually matched with and have PA (Preliminary Approval) for two girls already .
The next step is when they send that LSC or Letter Seeking Confirmation, AKA LOA (Letter of Approval). I’m told this should happen next week if recent history is any indication. I have my fingers crossed.
The other thing that happened on the same day we found out our dossier was in “matching” status, was that USCIS reviewed our I-800 and sent out a RFE (Request for Evidence). We were issued an RFE as we sent our I-800 without the LOA attached. They give you a certain number of days to submit an answer to the RFE (Ours will be able to be scanned in an e-mailed because we are expediting for Gabby).
As soon as we have LOA (Letter of Acceptance) Paul and I will apply for our Visa’s to enter China.
After that step with USCIS and they have our LOA, they send our information to the NVC (National Visa Center) so we can get the girls processed through them and all our information goes on to the US consulate in Guangzhou, China so they are ready for us when we arrive for our consulate appointment towards the end of our trip.
The step after LOA from the CCCWA will be when we are issued TA or Travel Approval.
Steps on both sides happen simultaneously, its a little crazy. You try to “manage” the some of the steps remotely.. sometimes this works out and sometimes it doesn’t. This is where you need to cross your fingers!
I’m so glad we are moving along, we are very excited to get moving (and a little terrified). I joined an online parenting group to try to change my rather ingrained parenting style to something more for the child from an orphanage background. I think that will be difficult but necessary.
This week I have done a round of Asian inspired meals and it worked out perfectly. I know we will need to incorporate more familiar food for the girls when they arrive so I better get working on my recipes.
Sunday I made three pounds of Asian Style Pork Meatballs. I did not brown them in the pan, I did bake them in the oven until they were done. I like things quick and dirty, I don’t have time for finesse. I served those with Chicken fried “rice” (cauliflower rice). I made a large batch (I needed lunches for Paul, Carl and Bethany, plus I can use it in a second dinner).
The next night I served Honey Soy Asian Beef over some of the left over Chicken fried “rice” from the night before. That one was easy because all I had to do was slap it in the crockpot toss the sauce on and forget it. I would advise not cooking it for the entire 8 hours.. probably more like low for 6. Then check the temperature. I think ours would have been done at that time. I did use real honey, you can use the low carb version if you so choose.
The next night I used up the rest of the Asian Style Pork Meatballs in Potsticker Meatball Asian Noodle Soup. That was also delicious. I love I Breathe I’m Hungry blog anyway. That soup was really good. I wish I had taken pictures of it. I know.. fail. I missed the soup, the meatballs and the beef. In my defense the beef was NOT pretty, it tasted good but it was not winning any beauty contest.
At the same time I made Pork Lo Mein and as soon as it was done I put it in a baking dish and slapped it into the fridge for tonight’s dinner. I used a good 2 pounds of pork for it and 2 packages of the Pasta Zero noodles. All the meals I’ve made (all for the first time this week) got good marks from everyone. My favorite was the Pork Lo Mein. DELICIOUS!!
I have put links to the Pinterest pins with the recipes.
What a total disaster! We had a plan to fund our adoption, we also had a back up plan. Plan A and Plan B blew up, we moved on to Plan C (okay so it was not a plan until Plan B exploded, but at least we had an option) and decided to re-finance the house. We could get the rest of the cash out and complete the adoption. Not ideal but we are working with an expedited timeline.
Our guy orders the VA appraisal and the morning of the appraisal this guy shows up. He just radiates jackass. The appraiser is BARELY civil, he doesn’t like the house, the neighborhood, our dogs (who were penned in the guest room), he was not a fan of adoption or kids (not sure). He missed an entire room of the house, he was just a jerk.
Paul and I both had a bad feeling about the entire ordeal. Fast forward and the appraisal came back more than 30K LESS than it had just a couple months ago, we appealed the appraisal with the VA and won that first part. We were good and they would enter the amount from the last appraisal. Big Sigh.
What we did not know is that all of the appeals have to go through a “VA desk review” with an auditor. A desk review is exactly like it sounds. Some paper pusher in another state decides if this is ok or not. We got a call Friday morning (we had an appointment to sign that evening) that the “desk review” went badly and the paper pusher decided against us because no comps in our area have sold in the last three months. Newsflash there are NO COMPS for this house in the area. ZERO, ZIP, NADA… Our house is overbuilt for the area, I will concede that point. EVERYONE knows the house because it is the only 2 story with pillars in the entire area. It has by far the most square footage and the most design detail. We ended up only getting half of the money we need to complete the adoption. We are freaking out. We thought we were good having a Plan A and a Plan B… you can NEVER have enough back up plans.
We got a call (just before we heard about the desk review) that our application for a grant was going to be put before the board. So keep your fingers crossed that grant works out. We paid for the Resources for Adoption toolkit and ended up only qualifying for a couple of grants. This is a great resource but we just did not fall into one of the bigger more popular grant groups.
For those of you just starting to think about adoption… seriously nail it down as best you can before you start. Have a back up plan (or 3- JUST IN CASE). The stress is crazy.
If you are in the Seattle/Tacoma area we do have several nice items available:
New GE Advantium Oven $400 (Paid $650), New in Box Lime Bumbo with Playtable $35 (Paid $49), and a New Fisher Price SnugaMonkey Swing $125 (Paid $159). We also have a hospital bed $100, recumbent exercise bike $25.
Yesterday I had a great unexpected surprise in my in-box. A mama was recently in Nanjing and spent a good deal of time with our little Isabella. This is Izzy with a social worker. This gal adored Isabella and spent a good deal of time with her.. in the process she took several pictures! When this mama arrived back home she hunted us down on Reece’s Rainbow and left me a comment on my blog!!! How awesome is that?!?! I am so delighted to get to see our little baby girl, and in some of the pictures she was clapping. Apparently little Miss Isabella is an orphanage favorite. I’m so relieved. I worried she was just sitting in her crib for hours by herself but this clearly is not the case! I can’t wait to meet our baby girl!
Thank you to one determined and thoughtful mama for sharing these with me!!
We have LID (Log in Date) of May 13, 2015. This has been a crazy roller coaster ride. As you may recall we were DTC on April 23rd and our Dossier arrived in China April 27th. Every other family in our group had LID and we had heard nothing. I harassed our agency gal DAILY (no I’m not kidding).
The first thing that they thought was an issue was that when we wrote LOI for Isabella, Paul’s middle name was put in incorrectly. We notified them right away and the CCCWA said this is fine and they will just be sure all the rest of the documents are correct.
It turns out that when the CCCWA was closed back in January and they updated the system our girls’ files were locked incorrectly. They have had our information all this time and it took forever to figure out what the problem was. It was not fixed until last Friday (May 1st). The agency had to re-lock them the right way and be sure none of the paperwork was “lost” in the re-lock. Now that we have LID our next BIG step is LOA when the Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC) is sent to us to sign stating we still want to adopt these two little girls.
Our I800 was sent to USCIS and arrived a the lockbox on May 5th. The lockbox wait is 10-14 days and then our paperwork will end up on our officers desk. They cashed our check yesterday so I’d bed our officer will have our papers on Friday.
I feel like a juggler.
I opened my e-mail this morning to these!! I am so excited because we were not expecting anything. Look at her sweet little face!
I called our gal at the agency this morning and told her to mail out our I800 today. I have already spoken with our USCIS officer and I know we will be issued an RFE but this is ok,you have 45 days after one is issued and that isn’t counting the lock box time we need to wait to even get our I800 seen (so about 59 days) to get our LOA for the girls and get it over to our USCIS officer. As long as I keep her in the loop it should be fine.
The gal at the agency gave me a sample timeline, how it would look pick up days, paperwork days and what they have come up with is OUTSTANDING. It isn’t official so I am not going to jinx myself and post it. If this happens as the sample suggests is will be AMAZING and due to a lot of coordination between both orphanages, the provinces, CCCWA and the USCIS. So keep your fingers crossed!
We are still waiting for LID notification, this is sort of a landmark more than anything else. LID just means your dossier has been logged into the system. There are other landmarks along the way as well like OOT (Out of Translation) etc.. but for the moment we are concerned with LID. Unfortunately our agency gal had been unable to log onto the CCCWA system yet today, aarrgghh figures.
Our Dossier arrived at the CCCWA in Beijing Monday April 27th!!
We bought two toddler comforters from Ikea (Hard to locate toddler comforters in the US, but they are very common in Europe). I found the cutest, happy fish print fabric on ebay and paired it with a soft pink flannel on the back side. I should add, I do NOT sew. I bought a sewing machine but I am totally winging it. I was going to take a class but I got the call to go to San Diego/Mexico and had to miss it. All that I have left to do now on the duvets is add either buttons or velcro to make the closure secure. The fabric is by Donna Dewberry and really cute!
We bought a large canvas on sale at Micheal’s not long ago and after a sale at JoAnn’s to grab black felt, Paul stapled the felt onto the canvas and we have a giant felt board. I’m going to mount this on the landing upstairs so we can trap the kids in a controlled area when I shower . I think we will add a large magnetic board too (think large oil drip pan).
I also finally finished beading that seahorse. I found a white frame on sale for 5 bucks and we have a winner! Still working on getting things ready. I still need to sew the rail covers for the cribs and the sheets for the travel cribs. Man I hope I get that done. HA!