Adoption Donation

Friday, October 25, 2013

And we're off!

The first day traveling to China has been amazing! We woke up bright and early, exhausted! Who could sleep?! It was like Christmas morning :) 

We flew Korean Air from Atlanta to Seoul and it was the best I've ever experienced. We were on an Air Bus which was a massive double-decker. 

We tried to go up top and check out the lounge and bar area but we were in economy seating so us peasants were not allowed to....  Boo! We did get up often to walk around since it was a 14 1/2 hour flight. The plane was a bit stuffy so we would go stand in the duty-free shopping area in the very back. 

The food was great! It seemed as if they fed you every couple of hours. For lunch I had the bibimbap. I took a picture but didn't think about it till I was almost done :/ Bibimbap is a Korean dish that is a bowl of meat and vegetables. You put steamed rice, sesame oil and gochujang (Korean hot paste) in, mix and eat! 

The flight from Seoul to Beijing was a smaller bumpier ride. Fortunately it was a short hour and 45 minutes because I got motion sick and occupied the bathroom a few times. Blah. After going through immigration and getting our luggage, our agency rep, Cecilia, met us outside. She was very sweet and told us some about the area while we drove to our hotel, the Sunworld Dynasty....

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Update on our next step, fund raiser and name!

Well, I haven't updated in forever but if you keep up with my Facebook page, you would know that we were matched with a beautiful baby boy! He is currently 10 months old living in Kaifeng China. He has a cleft lip (that has been repaired), a cleft palate and PFO (Patent Foreman Ovale), which is a minor heart condition. We are so incredibly blessed to be chosen to be his parents :)

As of right now we are waiting on our Letter of Approval. This "typically" comes in 60 days but the CCCWA has changed their system and things are still trying to get on track. We know some people that have waited over 100 days! So, prayers for ours to come soon would be appreciated. After we receive that letter, we will wait for Travel Approval then a Consulate Appointment. I'm really hoping for October travel but I'm thinking it'll be more like November. And hopefully not as long as December. Having a child and not being able to go get them right away is NOT a feeling I wish on anyone!

We are still fund raising to help with the expenses to bring him home to us.  We have custom ordered a puzzle that is of an amazing scene in his birth city. It's the Qingming Riverside landscape Garden. We have added the scripture from I Samuel 1:27-28 to it. Each piece is a $10 donation and we will add the name of your choice to the back of it. After it's completed, we will glue it together and frame it with double sided glass so he can see everyone who had a helping hand with this fund raiser :) Please contact me for more info or use the Pay Pal donate button for payment. 

His name!!!  I forgot to mention, we have named our baby Gage. His Chinese name is Guo ZhiChen :) Gage means promise or oath. We thought it fit so very perfectly <3

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Acronyms and Another Step!

In the process of adoption (particularly from China) you hear many, many, many acronyms. It's like a second language. If you're in a military family you know ALL about acronyms and how you'd better catch on quick or you will be beyond lost :)  So here is a reference to use when you see all my adoption jargon going on ...

HS ~ Home Study 
I-800A ~ Your application to USCIS to adopt a child from China
USCIS~ United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (Homeland Security)
I-797 Notice of Action ~ Approval of your I-800A
DTA ~ Documents (Dossier) to Agency
DTC ~ Documents (Dossier) to China
LID ~ Log In Date
LOI ~ Letter of Intent
PA ~ Pre-Approval (of your match/referral/CHILD!)
LOA ~ Letter of Approval (Acceptance)
I-800 ~ Your application to adopt a SPECIFIC child from China
A5 or Article 5 ~ Final approval from the United States for the adoption to take place
TA ~ Travel Approval
CA ~ US Consulate Appointment in China

A few other China Adoption terms:

Gotcha Day! (or Forever Family Day) ~ The day you welcome your child into your arms!
SW ~ Social Worker
WC ~ Waiting Child
AP ~ Adoptive Parent
SF ~ Special Focus
SN ~ Special Needs
NSN ~ Non- Special Needs
PAP ~ Pre-Adoptive Parent
NVC~ National Visa Center
OOT ~ Out of Translation
CCCWA ~ China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption

CCAI ~ Chinese Children Adoption International (our agency)

I know there are a few more so I'll add if they come to mind. And I'll answer any questions about any of the ones I just listed!! Just comment or message me.

So, I have ALL my documents ready (notarized, certified and authenticated) so tomorrow I will send the last of them to my agency (DTA!!). When they receive them they will review them, make copies, translate them and bind them in the way they know China likes to see them. Our agency is awesome (CCAI) so I know we are in good hands!  As soon as they get to China and China reviews them- I will receive a Log in Date (LID). We should be getting a referral (new son or daughter) very very soon!!!!  :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dossier Update 2/17/2013

As of Feb 8th our Home Study is officially complete! A notarized copy was sent to me and I sent it to the courthouse in Atlanta to get certified by the Superior Clerk of Court. When it returns I will send it to the Secretary of State to get certified, then to the courier in Houston for authentication.  Besides that, we are waiting for USCIS (Unites States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to issue Alexis and I a fingerprint appointment. Hopefully it will come in the next few weeks! After the fingerprints are complete USCIS will issue us an approval letter. We will have to get that approval letter notarized, certified and authenticated. Then I will mail it to our agency and we should be finally ready to be DTC! (Documents to China) I will wait for China to issue me a LID (log in date) and for a referral (matched with a child).  

I think my next blog should be about all the acronyms in Chinese adoptions!! haha

For real.

Borrowing, Begging & Being Blessed

Raising funds for an adoption is scary. At first I mentioned to Sam that we might want to start saving money and THEN put our application in. He said "No way. We are doing this. If we save, then something will always come up to take that money. God is leading us to adopt so we are going to trust in Him and jump! He will provided." I can never thank Sam enough for pushing us forward. Not only have we started this long journey of the adoption process but it has shone me how God works many wonders and blessings when you choose to let go, and let Him! He has this!! As my title states, borrowing, begging and being blessed- is what's going on.

*Borrowing: Thank you USAA for allowing us to take out a low interest loan!
Thank you Discover card for giving us NO interest for a year checks!

*Begging: Thank you to everyone who has bought anything from a fund-raiser, ticket sale, yard sale, etc...

*Being Blessed: Thank you to all the family and friends who just said "HERE. Take this for your adoption." I have came across some of the biggest hearts. I simply cannot wait to pay it forward!

Thank you God for putting this on our hearts and showing us to not be afraid. Especially of something as trivial as finances.  YOU got this! <3

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Baby Steps

So apparently you don't just decide to adopt and sign on the dotted line.  Weird.

Baby Steps- LOT & LOTS of baby steps!!!

For those who have thought about the adoption process or are just curious to what we are going through I am going to try my very best to start from the beginning and walk ya'll through it - to the point we are right now.  I know parts of the process coming up but not in detail. I am experiencing this adoption education along the way! :)

Step 1~ Request an information packet in the mail. FREE and easy! Lots of great information along with the pricing sheet of what everything will run throughout the process.  The agency we use sent a DVD as well for you to get a better picture of their mission.

Step 2~  Apply! The application was typical. Every bit of information about you and your family. Along with referrals from family and friends.

Step 3~ Attend orientation meeting. This was a great meeting with the agency worker.  She explained in detail what to expect, answered every question or concern we had and armed us with our notebook of information to read and our "gather list".

Step 4~ Gather List #1 HOME STUDY  The Home study is a start to the adoption process which requires gathering paperwork such as copies of marriage certificate, birth certificates, financial reports, adoption petition, employment verification, proof of rabies vaccination of all pets, full physicals and lab work, background checks, septic inspection... much more. You get the picture.  PLUS interviews with the social worker. She compiles ALL this information and writes a report then sends it for review to our agency.  Once they "OK" it, she will receive it back to make an official report that will be apart of our dossier (fancy french word meaning "bundle of documents")  Once this is complete we will receive a fingerprint appointment.  We are still waiting for this so you will know when we hear the word :)

Step 5~ Start compiling dossier! Everything must be NO more than 6 months old by the time it reaches the Embassy so timing is key. All the stuff for the home study were copies. Now it's time to play in the big league's. ALL documents including marriage and birth certificates have to be newly (less than 6 months) obtained.  Besides those, a dossier consists of all the home study paperwork, an approved 1-800A (application through the USCIS stating you're able to adopt from a convention country, copies of passport, family photos, couples photos and appropriate fees.  Obtaining the paperwork is the easy part. But everything has to be notarized  superior clerk of court certified, secretary of state certified (for my NC documents they had to take an extra step and be US secretary of state certified), AND Embassy authenticated.  As of right now my GA secretary of state documents are certified and on their way back to me. Hopefully they will be here tomorrow or Friday.  After I receive them, I will immediately put them in the mail to the Embassy in Houston TX  for authentication.  My NC documents (as well as Sam's Certificate of Birth Abroad) is in DC right now with a courier getting US secretary of state certified and authenticated by the Embassy there. I'm thinking this process takes about 1-2 weeks. I have a tracking number on the envelope coming back to me so I am psychotically checking USPS every day! haha

More baby steps to come....

Monday, January 7, 2013

Why adoption?

Did I grow up with dreams of adopting? Was it always in my plans? NO.

A little background to the story:
When Sam and I got married I already had Alexis. She was 7 years old. So, we figured "why wait?" on having more kids.  After our first year of marriage I wasn't pregnant yet so I decided to go to the doctor for advice and help. For the second year of our marriage I did Clomid (low dose fertility drug) and Prometrium. No such luck.  Starting into the 3rd year of trying and taking more fertility drugs plus having a laproscopy to have my endometriosis removed,  I got pregnant!!  The time frame I got pregnant was 3 months after I was baptized.  I honestly feel like it was God's welcome present to me for finally entering into His kingdom.  I grew up a "Christian" and was taught the basics which I am forever thankful for but I always held of getting baptized.  I always thought "I'm not good enough yet". What I didn't understand was that I will never be good enough. I will always fall short. But I am washed cleaned by His blood and His grace and forgiveness is more than good enough :)  So, I was pregnant after 3 years and very happy!

After Aubrie turned 2 we decided to start trying again (between deployments and R&R's of course!)  More Clomid and Prometrium. Another laproscopy. Flushing out my tubes a few times. No such luck.  My doctor then decided I should go see a specialist.  The specialist was amazing. I just KNEW if anyone could get the job done, it was him. He told me along with the endometriosis back, I also had PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome).  We started treatment, which consisted of Follistim shots in my stomach and another shot (I put the name purposely out of my head!! That sucker HURT!) in my hiney...  yeah... This went on for months. Finally Sam and I started throwing around the idea of adopting but it was never talked about seriously.  Then we just said we were honestly happy with our family of 4 and felt extremely blessed.  We were ready to stop the shots and just move on.  No more talk of becoming pregnant and no more talk about adoption.

I can't explain really but adoption was always in the back of my head.  Not necessarily because it was something I deeply was just there, almost a whisper in my ear.  That whisper got louder.  I started seeing things on TV and hearing commercials on the radio about adopting.  I blew it off.  When I was trying to get pregnant I noticed SO many pregnant women. I figured because I was thinking about adoption that my sub conscience was getting the best of me.  One day I went over a friends house to buy something from her. I knew she had adopted so I casually asked her what the process was.  She got a sparkle in her eye and she asked me to come in and talk about it.  I could tell that it was something she was passionate about which made me even more interested.  After an hour or so of telling me her story, she asked if she could put some people in touch with me that have also adopted.  Um, sure ..... ?

Literally within days I had a handful of ladies message me letting me know that they were available to get together if I ever had any questions.  I met with Brandi at Dunkin Donut a few days later and got to hear her amamzing story.  I met with Christine after that and heard hers.....and then Dawn... and Kathy, and Alexandra.  These ladies in particular had adopted or were in the process of adopting from China.  I never gave it much thought to WHERE I would adopt from.  So how in the world would I make that decision?  I pulled up a few websites for local adoption in Georgia and the website was incredibly hard to navigate.  All the children they were showing were 14-17 years old.  I emailed a few friends in different states and different countries if they knew of a reputable adoption agency in their area.  I wasn't really getting anywhere on my own. So, I started praying.  Asking God if adoption was right for us...asking Him to give me signs if it was what He wanted us to do.  I got more signs.  And I kept telling myself they were coincidences.

Why Adoption? PART 2

Backing up a bit.....

In August our church service was about asking God for forgiveness for trying to control something in your life instead of giving it over to Him. We were to write on the board something we were trying to control. This is what I wrote:

Fast forward to September-

The night before my doctors appt I prayed hard. And specifically.  It went something like this but don't qoute me ;)  "God, adoption has been weighing on my heart and mind something fierce.  If this is in YOUR plans for us, please show me a sign. I will not doubt you. I will not blow it off as a coinsedense. I will have faith.  Also, if we are meant to adopt please point me in the direction WHERE.  I do not care- domestic or international. They are all Your children and all equally important.

The following day my doctor was not available to see me so I saw another doctor.

Dr. Woo

She asked me if I was done having kids because I was probably going to have to have a hysterectomy.  I told her I was done and was thinking of adopting. She asked me where from?  I didn't have a place pin-pointed yet but since all the ladies I had talked to about adoption went through China...I just blurted out, "Not sure, maybe China".  She proceeded to tell me that she was from China and that she actually was apart of the committee downtown Savannah that held a Chinese New Years party every year. She said " I have never seen so many blonde parents with Chinese kids before!" LOL No more blowing it off- that was my wink from God. I hear You loud and clear.  Application is in the mail.