Saturday, December 26, 2009

3 More Marbles

The CCAA sent out a nice Christmas present for a few families on Christmas Eve: 3 days worth of referrals! For those families, I am very, very happy. However, these were 3 very tiny days (April 1-3, 2006), so when I said "a few families", I literally meant a few. In a way this was kind of like adding insult to injury for us waiting families. I mean, why did they even bother to send out referrals if they were so few? Considering the number of families who received referrals with this batch, this was one of the smallest batches (if not the smallest batch)- ever!

On the other hand, they did just send out 3 days worth of referrals at the beginning of this month (December 2nd), so they really didn't have to send out anything else this month. As long as this tiny batch wasn't meant to be January's batch, then I guess this is kind of like a "Christmas bonus". When you look at it that way, then it's kind of nice!

Now if January passes with no new referrals, then I will be upset all over again!Jar #1 now has 1,083 marbles; we are 26 days close to Caitlin!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Paul, Libby and I would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas! We hope your day was blessed and special.

I also wanted to share some ladybug gifts we received for Christmas. They are just too cute!

This is a ladybug Longaberger basket from Paul's sister, Julie. How cute it that??
These are ladybug ornaments from my parents. Remember how difficult it was last year to find even one ladybug ornament? My mom found all these this year, so she decided to go ahead and stock up. Since we may be waiting for Caitlin for many more years, and I want an ornament for each Christmas we're waiting, that's a lot of ornaments we're gonna need. This way we won't have to look the next several years- we're all set!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ladybugs in EPCOT

Paul and I spent last week at Disney World. Of course we had to visit China in the World Showcase!We enjoyed the movie about the country and the museum, as well as walking through the garden.
Then we visited the gift shops and found this:We also took the "Behind the Seeds" tour at EPCOT's "The Land" to learn more about the hydroponics and such that you see during the boat ride. Part of the tour is about using good bugs to battle bad bugs in agriculture; one of the "good bugs" is the ladybug! I got to help deposit ladybugs into the greenhouse. Do you think that helped any with our luck? :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

3 More Marbles

The CCAA finally sent out referrals! Only 3 days worth, which is pitiful considering that they made us wait 2 months for these referrals, but hopefully, HOPEFULLY they will send out another batch before the end of the year. I know that's probably just wishful thinking, considering what's been going on lately, but one can dream, right?

The good news is that we are FINALLY done with March 2006. It took almost an entire year, but at last we're through the biggest month in recent history (possibly ever), and now we can see if April 2006 really does move faster, since it was a much smaller month...Jar #1 now has 1,086 marbles. We are 23 days closer to Caitlin!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I got another cool fortune in my fortune cookie: I thought it was appropriate!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some movement on the CCAA front

Well, the CCAA is still reviewing files... In fact, they just announced that they have reviewed all the files of everyone logged in through February 2008! This means they are only one year away from us since we were logged in in March 2009!!! If they continue at this rate we will be in review in less than a year!

Again, when they review they go through your file with a fine-tooth comb. They may have some more questions for us or need more information. Sometimes it takes awhile to get the necessary information so families loose their place in line and are given a new LID. That is why people get a little nervous when they know their files are in review, and breathe a sigh of relief when they know their month is out of review!

For a better explanation of this part of the process please click here.

Now, why is the CCAA still reviewing files if they are not going to send out referrals? That is the question of the day!!

We wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Roller Coaster

So now there's more bad news out there... the newest rumor is that the CCAA will not be sending out referrals this month (November), either, because now the new director "needs time to learn how things work". I think they've skipped 3 months so far this year! And even when they did send out referrals, the numbers were shameful.

But that's not the whole story; in order to get a true taste of what this roller coaster is like, I must first explain what the past few weeks have been like:

First we were hoping that since they skipped September, then only sent out a 4-day batch in early October, they would send another batch at the end of October (otherwise they were still crawling along at 2-day batches). Then we hit November and, since there were no new batches, we came to realize that that 4-day batch was indeed intended for September and October.

Then, a few weeks ago, the European agencies were all excited because they had heard that the CCAA had finished matching all of March 2006 (which would be another 3 days, but mostly everyone just wants to be done with March 2006 because it was such a huge month. April 2006 is much smaller, so most people believe that things will move at least a little faster once we get into April).

That rumor continued for a few days, then a conflicting rumor emerged that the CCAA had begun to match. How could they just be beginning to match if we already knew that they had finished matching all of March?

A couple of days later, there was another rumor that "packages were in the air, on their way to agencies". We all held our breath. Could this be the referrals? And is March 2006 in fact done? Could they maybe have even gotten into April???

Nope, all of those packages turned out to be other things; no referrals.

Then another set of packages were in the air...

No referrals.

Today the rumor is that they will not send out referrals at all this month; maybe next month.

What about the promise of a speed up in the fall? What about the assurances of "more referrals in 2009 than in 2008"? It's just not happening.

So you can kind of see what this wait is like for us. Only add to it our emotions and our strong desire to finally meet the little ones that we have been waiting for- and dreaming about- for so long.

A lot of people are beginning to think that this is all because of China's fears about the Swine Flu. Apparently they completely stopped all IA (International Adoption) back with the SARS epidemic for several months, but before they admitted that was the reason they gave out all kinds of excuses. Hopefully that is all that is going on here, that they are worried about this new "epidemic" and just want to see what happens, but eventually they will start back and send out referrals in huge batches! If not, then I just don't know what is going to happen.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Well, here it is November and we did not see another batch of referrals for October. This means that the last batch of 4, sent out earlier in October, was in fact meant for both September and October. We are still creeping along at 2 days of referrals a month. At this rate, the current estimate is that Paul and I may have to wait another 6 years before we get our referral for Caitlin.

BUT, the good news (I hope) is that there is also a rumor that the CCAA is getting a new director. Some agencies say this means that change is on the horizon (good change), but others say that this does not mean anything other than the old director was promoted to another position elsewhere in the Chinese government. I'm choosing to hold out hope that this means that good change is on the horizon, and things will begin to move again soon!

Monday, October 12, 2009

4 More Marbles

Well, after making us wait for what I believe has been the longest time between batches of referrals ever (it's been 52 days since the last batch of referrals was sent out back in August), China finally sent out 4 whole days worth of referrals (note my sarcasm). This leaves everyone to wonder if this was meant to be September's batch, in which case 4 days of referrals wouldn't be quite as dismal (it is, after all, double the batches we've been getting), or if this batch also includes October's referrals, in which case we are still creeping along at 2 days per month. All we can do is wait and see; hopefully they will send out another batch before the end of the month...We have 1,089 days to go; we are 20 days closer to Caitlin!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nothing New

I'm sorry I haven't been updating this blog very regularly lately, but I just really don't have any news to share. There have been no new referrals, and really no word from China whatsoever. They have been very quiet, so all we can do is sit and wait... and try very hard to be patient!

I'm hoping for some news of referrals by next week so I can move some more marbles. If not, I'll work on another FAQ. I have to find something to post about to keep this blog current!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

6 Month LID-versary

We've officially been "paper pregnant" for 6 months today, although we actually started the process a year and a half ago. If this were a traditional pregnancy, we'd be moving into the 3rd trimester and preparing for the arrival of our little one. We'd be registering and decorating the nursery. Instead, we have no idea where the light is at the end of this tunnel. The "speedup" that was expected for the summer/fall has not come to pass. I'm still holding out hope that it could still happen, but all the changes and measures that were supposed to cause that speedup were put into place over 9 months ago, so we should be seeing some sign of the fruits of those efforts by now.

In the past 6 months we have only moved through 16 days of LIDs; we still have 1,093 to go. China skipped a month of referrals due to the Swine Flu, then we had 2 "decent" months of referrals (6 days, which was more than we'd seen in awhile, so everyone thought it was a sign of the speedup that we were promised), but then we went back to 2-day referrals. At a time when things were supposed to be picking up, they came back to a screeching halt.

The worst part about this wait is the lack of information. We have no idea what's going on, or what's to come. All we can do is sit and wait.

BUT, we still feel sure that this is what we are meant to do. We will continue to wait, for however long it takes, until we can bring our daughter home.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chinese Proverb

I thought this was appropriate! It's a Chinese proverb, basically their version of "The Tortoise and the Hare":

"Traveling at such a slow pace,
Do you think you can ever get there?"
A fast steed asked a lame turtle.

"Yes, as long as I keep going," said the turtle.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

More Ladybugs from Japan!

We got another surprise package from my sister-in-law in Japan today! Inside we found the cutest little ladybug outfit for Caitlin, and a ladybug mug:The mug cracked us up because it was apparently translated from Japanese; written on it was (and I quote exactly from the mug): "Everyone loves ladybirds. Because it's small, colorful, and cutty". I love the grammar, but mostly we wondered what "cutty" means. We guessed probably "cuddly", although "cuddly" is not exactly the first adjective that comes to mind when describing a ladybug! I love it!

Also included in the package was what Meghan says is called a "Daruma":She says that you are supposed to make a wish, then color the right eye. When the wish comes true you can color the other eye! I don't know if we are supposed to keep the wish a secret, so I'll just say it was related to Caitlin... and we hope we can color the left eye in very soon!!

Thanks Meghan! (and Greg, and Cora!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

FAQ: So, what's next in the process?

As far as China goes, our dossier has been accepted and is now waiting in a big room with all the other dossiers logged in from about October 2007 to present. The next step will be when the CCAA reviews the dossiers, going through every page with a fine-tooth comb. If they have any questions or find any discrepancies, they will contact the potential parents through their adoption agency. If the matter can't be resolved quickly the dossier may lose it's place in line and will be given a new LID. Common questions concern health issues, and the CCAA may require additional medical exams or documentation.

The CCAA reviews dossiers one month at a time, based on the LID; for example, our dossier will be reviewed with all the other dossiers logged in during March, 2009. As of right now, the CCAA has reviewed dossiers through August 31, 2007, so they are probably currently working on September 2007. There is no way to tell when they will review more months; we just wait until they make the announcement that they have "reviewed all dossiers through ---". People feel very relieved when they hear their dossiers are out of review because it means they are basically approved; if you pass review, you can be pretty certain that you will be given a child (although when is another question!)

After 'review' comes 'matching', but there can be years between the two. Matching is when the CCAA takes the files of all the families who are next on the waiting list, reads all our information, and looks at the pictures we sent. Then they compare them with the files of the babies who are "paper ready" (or ready for adoption) at that time. No one is sure exactly how they match families to babies, but I have heard many times that it is based on rather unscientific methods, such as basing a match on physical looks, dates the families have in common with the baby (perhaps the baby's birthday is the same date as the parents' anniversary, for example), or maybe they match the file of a baby who likes to be outside with the file of a couple who likes to hike. However random their method, it works! It is said that China does the best job at matching babies to families, and almost always people say that it seems the baby fits perfectly with the family, like it was always meant to be.

When the matching is complete for the batch of referrals, they send them out to the agencies!

Friday, August 21, 2009

2 More Marbles...

Yes, just 2. We continue to crawl along at a snail's pace. We'll see what next month brings (hopefully that speedup we've all been hoping/praying for)!We have 1,093 days still to go; we are 16 days closer to Caitlin!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

FAQ: Why the obsession with ladybugs?

For my first FAQ I thought I'd start with an easy question!

Basically the "obsession" with ladybugs has 2 reasons: First, ladybugs have long been associated with good luck, and we need all the luck we can get with the adoption process! Also, ladybugs were adopted as sort of the "mascot" of China adoption; it's said that whenever you see ladybugs something good is about to happen (like a bunch of referrals being sent)!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our New Header

Thank you so much Annie (from Sweden!) for our beautiful new blog header. It is so cute! I especially love the pink bow (and the ladybug, of course)! I don't know how she did it, but it was a very sweet surprise!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lantern Festival

Tonight we braved the cold, dreary, miserable weather to check out the local Lantern Festival. Apparently they have done this every year for over 100 years. It is a local tradition, but people come from all over to see it. The Lantern Festival is a weekend event, with activities and festivities all 3 days, but we only went tonight to see the play, which was based on an ancient Chinese tale, and the fireworks. All throughout the town the houses and businesses were decorated with lanterns. It was very beautiful!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Worth the Wait

A friend of mine just got home from China last week with her beautiful new daughter, Amelia. She is absolutely precious and I am so happy for the new family! Congratulations, Rebecca and Zachary!
I asked for permission to post her picture on our blog because I thought that seeing her sweet face might help our friends and family to understand why we're going through all this, and how worth it this will be! Isn't she beautiful?!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Two More Marbles...

OK, so the CCAA only matched 2 days worth of LIDs this month, BUT they were 2 very big days. March 21st and 22nd 2006 were huge days for logging in, and the 23rd is another huge day. I guess they just couldn't handle 3 big days in a row.

I am still hopeful for a speedup for several reasons. First, the CCAA put new rules and measures into effect back in January of this year, and it takes at least 6 months to get a baby "paper ready" (or ready for adoption). Therefore, assuming these new measures have worked, it will be at least 6 months until we see an increase of paper ready babies. That would mean that the paperwork for these babies should just be arriving at the CCAA this month (July), so perhaps next month (August) we will begin to see the speedup. It has been said for awhile now that the speedup will begin in the fall of this year. Also, March 2006 was an insanely large month as far as families getting logged in. Adoption from China was hugely popular at the time and the CCAA was bombarded with dossiers in record numbers. As soon as we get through March 2006, there should be a natural speedup because April 2006 is much smaller, then May is even smaller.

So here are the marble jars as they now stand:Jar #1 now has 1,095 marbles; we are 14 days closer to Caitlin!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A lot of people have been asking me questions about the adoption process, and I have come to realize that there is a lot of interest- as well as some misconceptions or misunderstandings. I thought it might be a good idea to try to answer some of these questions here in my blog. This will keep my blog active during the long wait, and provide something new to read! All the FAQ posts will be filed under the "FAQs" category, and can be accessed by clicking on the link under "Labels" in the column on the right.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me and I can add it (anonymously) to the FAQs. Don't worry, I've probably heard it before so please do not worry about offending me!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ladybugs in Wisconsin

Look what we spotted today in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin:I hope this means good things are to come!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today is our 4th anniversary, and we decided that instead of spending money on ourselves (especially since both of our birthdays are within a month of our anniversary), we should put the money we would have spent on gifts for each other towards something for Caitlin. Actually, it was Paul's idea. Sweet, huh?! He's already thinking like a daddy!

I saw this crib bedding set at Babies R Us months ago and immediately fell in love with it. It has embroidered flowers,butterflies,and, of course, ladybugs!Oh, and it's pink, of course, but not overly pink.

This is the comforter,crib bumper,and bedskirt that goes with it.Anyway, everyone kept telling me that if I loved it so much I'd better go ahead and get it because they don't keep patterns forever, but you know me: I was waiting for it to go on sale! Then I noticed that JCPenny was no longer carrying it, and I was seeing it online for cheaper than I'd ever seen it, so I started to worry that it was in fact going out of "style". We got a great deal at on sale, no tax, AND free shipping! Can't get better than that!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another Gift for Caitlin!

Mandi sent Caitlin the cutest ladybug outfit:It is just adorable- Thank you, Mandi! I love all these ladybugs! :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

6 More Marbles!

China sent out more referrals on Friday. We got to move 6 more marbles!Slowly but surely, we are making our way...Jar #1 now has 1,097 marbles; we are 12 days closer to Caitlin!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How cute is this?!

Check out this adorable outfit that my mom sent for Caitlin:It has tiny ladybugs all over the jeans, and it even came with matching shoes!
SO cute! Thanks, Mom- I love it (and so will Caitlin)!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Let the Countdown Begin!!

China finally decided to mail out some referrals today, and they got through 6 days (through March 14, 2006). I can FINALLY begin moving some marbles! I know that 6 days doesn't sound like much (especially considering that we have 1,103 days still to go), but China has only been sending 2-4 days worth of referrals per month for awhile now, so any sign of movement is a good thing!

A friend is visiting with us from Illinois right now, and her 3-year-old son was very excited to help me count the marbles. (He has no idea what the marbles are for, but he LOVED counting them!)

Now Jar #1 has 1, 103 marbles; we are 6 days Closer to Caitlin!!