Saturday, January 31, 2009

Good Fortune

We went out to dinner last night, and guess what my fortune cookie said:(Sorry- I couldn't resist!)

Friday, January 30, 2009

And They're Off!

Our dossier is FINALLY on it's way to our agency and out of my hands! After 8 months of working on it, this feels so GOOD!!!!!

Philip will take care of the rest of the embassy authentications for me (since I didn't have any luck with the embassy in Houston, and I don't have time to deal with D.C. since we are moving to California on Monday), then send it to China where it will be translated, then passed on to the CCAA (the agency in China that handles all adoptions). Then the CCAA will give us our LID!

So this is what our dossier looks like; 8 months of work boils down to this:Included in the dossier is the following:
*Our 8-page homestudy
*A certified copy of our USCIS I-800A approval
*A "cover letter" to China
*Proof of Employment for Paul
*A "Letter of Marketplace Unemployment" for me
*A Certificate of Property
*Physicals for Paul and me
*Criminal Record Checks for both of us from each State/place we've lived in for the past 5 years
*A certified copy of our Marriage Certificate
*Certified copies of our Birth Certificates
*Copies of our passports
*2 passport photos for each of us
*6 candid photos

It's actually a weird feeling letting all of those precious papers out of my hands after working so hard on them for so long, but I know they're a whole lot safer in Philip's hands right now than here in this house with the move going on next week!

So farewell dossier, and good luck!!

They're Here!

Our 3 missing documents just arrived from the Department of State!(Check out the signature):Now I can put our entire dossier together and send it all out!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Finishing Touches

In preparation for the arrival of our MIA documents (the 3 on the way from the State Dept.), I got the rest of our dossier ready to go today. Paul brought home a utility-style paper cutter from work so that I could matt the pictures we have to send with our paperwork:We have to send a total of 6 photos: an individual shot of each of us, a close-up of us as a couple, and one of our house. The last 2 can be of us doing activities we enjoy or something that shows a little about our lives.

I keep checking on our 3 missing documents, but still says they are in Memphis. I'm not sure why they had to go all the way to Memphis; we are only about a 3 hour drive from D.C., but as long as they're here by the promised time of "no later than 4:30 PM Friday" (tomorrow), we'll be OK. That will still give me time to run the entire dossier up to the FedEx store and mail it out to Philip before 5 PM. That way he can get them Monday morning, and hopefully get started on getting the final authentication (by the Chinese Embassies).

I'm still holding on to my hope of being LID before the end of February. It is still possible, IF the stars align just right...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


After seriously panicking today, I finally received an e-mail from the State Department saying that our documents are finally being sent back (no explanation as to what took twice as long as it should have, of course). I just checked and they have indeed been picked up. They should arrive by Friday afternoon. I will not completely relax until they are in my hands (and I can see that they are done correctly!), but I feel SO much better now!

Nothing like playing it to the last minute... Never a dull moment around here!!

Getting Worried!

Surprise of all surprises, no one replied to the e-mail that I sent to the Dept. of State yesterday morning. So I got the bright idea to try to track the envelope (I had to send a return FedEx envelope in with the papers so I have the tracking number on my receipt), but said that the envelope has not even left yet. Then I really started to panic! I called the State Dept. yet again (3rd time), but unfortunately the only person you can talk to when you call is the operator. She took my information and submitted it to the Authentications Department and said that "hopefully" someone will call me. That doesn't sound very promising. They had said that it would only take 5 business days to authenticate these documents; we're now on day 10.

Now I've gone from worrying that these papers may be returned after we move (by next Wednesday, one week from today, this house will be empty and we will be gone), to worrying that the papers are lost completely! One of the papers was only Paul's Proof of Employment, which he can easily have redone, but the other 2 were our police clearances from Italy. They took MONTHS to get!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Still Waiting... Again!

No news on the 3 papers that we are waiting to be returned from the Department of State (the ones signed by the Navy so they have to have different authentication). I called on Friday and again today and was only told to send an e-mail, which I did but of course there has been no reply as of yet.

I had thought the USCIS would be the agency to hold us up; I was losing sleep worrying about that paperwork getting back to us before we moved. Now it would seem that it may be the Dept. of State that messes us up instead! We are exactly 1 week away from our move...

Hopefully it will come today!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Celebration Time

Paul and I decided that we had enough good news on the adoption front this week to warrant a celebratory dinner. We have been saving a gift certificate to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse that my parents gave us so that we could celebrate big when we got our LID, but then we realized that it looks like that time may come right in the middle of our move when we will be on opposite ends of the country. So we decided that instead we would go ahead and celebrate now, since everything is pretty much done (I hope!) and it should only be a matter of time until we get that precious LID. Besides, as Paul keeps saying, it feels like everything is finally starting to come together!

The meal was outstanding! I chose the crab cakes, which were amazing, while Paul opted for the "surf and turf": lobster tail and fillet mignon. We both agreed that the meal as a whole was simply perfect! Of course we toasted Caitlin, and when our hostess discovered our reason for celebrating she took a personal interest; adoption is very near and dear to her heart since her sister had just adopted 2 babies from Russia, and she and her siblings were all adopted by her parents as well. It was a very special evening!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ladybugs from Japan

A surprise package arrived today from Japan! My brother and sister-in-law live in Sasebo, Japan, and apparently ladybugs are very popular over there; ladybug and shamrock (if that's not good luck I don't know what is!) paraphernalia is all over the place! They sent us some very cool and unique gifts: the package contained glasses with ladybugs and shamrocks (they say "Happy Day!", although they are Japanese glasses!), these very cool ladybug/shamrock page markers, and a ladybug/shamrock waterbottle sock. Very fun!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I just got back from Richmond with all of our Virginia documents, authenticated and ready for the Chinese Embassy!
Now all we need is to get our military documents back from the Dept. of State, then I forward everything to Philip and he takes care of the rest! Yay!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

IT'S HERE!!!!!!!

Guess what came in the mail today?!?!?! Our I-800A approval from the USCIS!!! It actually made it before we moved! All my heavy-duty praying and positive thinking has paid off; we made it! Whew- I am shaking I am so happy!This approval means that U.S. Immigration (USCIS) has approved us to adopt a baby from China. Now first thing tomorrow morning I can take a copy of the approval form to AAA to be certified as a "legal copy", then notarized, then I am going to drive all of our Virginia documents out to Richmond to have them state authenticated in person.

This morning I sent our documents that had been signed by the military (who do not have a normal notary commission) to the Department of State in D.C. to be authenticated. Once we get them back (hopefully next week), I get to send everything, our entire dossier, to Philip who will take over for me! He will get our documents authenticated by the appropriate Chinese Embassy (Houston and D.C.), then everything gets shipped to China to be translated. Then we will finally get that coveted Log In Date (LID), meaning we are on the official waiting list. Then, THEN, we will celebrate, big time, because we will be officially "paper pregnant"!!

OK, I'm going to do the Happy Dance now, then relax because I have been so nervous about getting this thing back in time. I will sleep very soundly tonight!!

P.S.- This means that we are still on track for a February LID, which has been my new goal. (My original goal was September, then any time before the holidays, then before the end of the year... I stretched it out to February about a month ago. Hopefully I won't be stretching it any further!)

Friday, January 9, 2009

No news...

Sorry I haven't updated in awhile, but I really don't have any news to share. Everything is still on hold, waiting for that I-800A approval to come from the USCIS. I did call the Department of State the other day to ask about how to authenticate documents signed by the military (Paul had a couple documents signed by a JAG officer, and they don't have a "normal" notary commission. For one thing, they don't have a State of commission, so I can't ask any State to authenticate it!). I was told that Paul needs to get a seal from the Navy on the documents, then I can mail them to the D.o.S. and they will authenticate them for us. Hopefully Paul will get the seal today, then I can mail the documents in first thing Monday.

I am getting very nervous about all of this since we will be moving to California very soon. I had originally hoped to have this all done long before now (I had thought we would be logged in with China before the holidays!). Now I'm wondering how I am going to handle all this from hotels on the road- without an address for people to send stuff to me! I am just hoping and praying, with everything I have in me, that the USCIS will help us out and get that approval to us very soon. If we can just get it back before I leave VA, I can drive all of our VA documents out to Richmond to have them State authenticated in person, then mail everything to Philip so he can take over for me. Then I can relax and hit the road in peace! If not, this very important document that took so long to put together, and to get back, will be at the mercy of the USPS as we will not be at this address after February 6th!

Yea, I'm losing sleep over this one!!