Thursday, September 30, 2010

Last Check in the Box

Today we had our final travel meeting with our agency. This was the final check on the long list that I've been working so hard on for 5 months now!Well, there is still one more check missing:

One More Week!!!

One week from today, we will be leaving for China! I say that, but honestly I still can't believe it! I can't believe that, after all this time, all these years of dreaming about this, it's actually this close to happening! Yet somehow, even with all the happy excitement, I feel this strange peace and a calm that is very unlike me. I keep waiting for the calm to end and for me to start freaking out, but so far so good!

There is one bright spot to us having to wait so long to travel: it gave me 5 months to get ready so there is not much panic now here at the end!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Two weeks from today Caitlin will be placed in my arms. How I've dreamed of that moment... and now it's only 2 weeks away!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Caitlin's Kingdom, Part 2: The Transformation

It's complete! Today I put the finishing touches on Caitlin's room! Here are some pictures:

Before (the guest room):

After (Caitlin's room!):

The room itself has actually been complete for some time now, but I wanted to finish some projects that I had been working on:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

2 Weeks and Counting!

Two weeks from today we will be leaving for China! The countdown begins...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Baby Shower!

Today some amazing friends of mine, Avril and Candace, hosted a baby shower for me! It was absolutely beautiful. And even more amazing was the fact that they somehow managed to put the whole thing together in less than 2 weeks! How they did it, I'll never know, because it was truly perfect. They didn't miss a detail!

It was a "full service tea" at a local inn. We were each served our own individual tray with a porcelain tea pot (there were dozens of flavors of tea to choose from), a plate with finger sandwiches, fresh cookies, biscuits, and bread, as well as cups with butter, marmalade, and sugar cubes.

Avril had decorated with teacups filled with pink carnations,

And made this adorable sign:(I don't know why these 2 pictures are so small...)

They also asked our family who was not able to attend to write a letter to Caitlin, which Avril put in a special scrapbook. Now Caitlin will always have this scrapbook to remind her of how much her family and friends love her!

This was my corsage:(complete with tiny ladybugs!)

In the gift bags for all the guests,were fortune cookies dipped in chocolate and sprinkles, with a little baby on them:And special seeds, personalized to remember the day:

Candace (the other hostess of the shower) made a gift for Caitlin that almost brought me to tears. She is making her a quilt, and each square relates to Caitlin's story. There were squares with Chinese characters, one with ladybugs, an "American" square, a square with pandas, etc. It is absolutely beautiful, and something that Caitlin will keep forever, and hopefully pass on to her daughter one day!

Group shots:

(My Marketing Bunco Group)

(The whole gang!)

I am still overwhelmed at the generosity of all of our family and friends. Caitlin's room is now full with toys, books, and all kinds of goodies.I hope that Caitlin always knows how much she is loved!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


A friend just pointed out that our "Forever Family/Gotcha Day" (the day we will meet Caitlin) is 10/10/10. How cool is that?! That is definitely a date to remember!

We Have An Itinerary!

We got our itinerary this morning! The most important question has been answered: WE MEET CAITLIN ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10TH!!!

The rest of the schedule goes kind of like this:

*Thursday, October 7th: Depart USA

*Friday, October 8th: Arrive in Beijing

*Saturday, October 9th: Tour Beijing (Tienanmen Square, Forbidden City, Olympic Park, and... THE GREAT WALL!)

*Sunday, October 10th: Head to Fuzhou; MEET CAITLIN!!!

*Monday, October 11th: Finalize adoption

*Tuesday, October 12th-Thursday, October 14th: Tour around the province. We are going to request a visit to Caitlin's orphanage, but we don't know if we will be granted a visit or not.

*Friday, October 15th: Head to Guangzhou

*Saturday, October 16th: Medical Exam (Caitlin has to get all her vaccinations before she leaves China; whatever she has not yet had, she will be given here, all at once. Unfortunately we do not have an option or a say in the matter; this was the U.S.'s brilliant idea...)

*Sunday, October 17th: "Sunday Sermon"

*Monday, October 18th: Paperwork, Interview

*Tuesday, October 19th: Caitlin's Oath Ceremony, when she will be sworn in as a U.S. citizen

*Wednesday, October 20th: Pick up Caitlin's U.S. Visa, then head to Hong Kong

*Thursday, October 21st: Depart Hong Kong for U.S.!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Good Fortunes!

I love it when fortune cookies are actually pertinent...

This was my fortune on August 30th (two days before our TA finally came in):
And this was our fortune today:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

We Have Flights!

I just finished booking our flights! And they are direct flights, on an airline I trust, and a Boeing 747- both ways! And we have window seats! What a relief! (For those of you who know me, you understand why all these things are so very, very important to me; for those who don't know me... it's a long story!)

October 7th it is!

We got word back from our agency's people in China, and they have booked us a hotel room in Guangzhou, meaning it's official! We will be leaving on Thursday, October 7th and returning on Thursday, October 21st. We can finally book flights!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

October 7th...

...we think! Mike called about an hour ago to say that the Consulate confirmed an appointment for us for October 18th, meaning that we would be leaving on October 7th and returning on October 21st. However, we still cannot buy plane tickets because we do not have a hotel room yet, and that is the week of the trade fairs in Guangzhou. We should hear back tomorrow...

Friday, September 3, 2010

And the Roller Coaster Continues...

Well, first of all, we are not leaving on Thursday. Mike from our agency called this morning to say that he had heard back from the Consulate, and they did not accept any of the 5 dates he asked for. In fact, they told him that their next available appointment wasn't until October 12th. The thing is, October 12th isn't even possible because of the holiday October 1-7. So Mike asked for 5 dates later in October, which would mean that we are back to leaving on October 7th, but, again, October is a tricky month due to the Trade Fairs in Guangzhou. There is no guarantee that we will be able to get a hotel room, even if we get a Consulate appointment.

So, basically, this is where we stand right now: we are waiting to hear back from the Consulate sometime next week to see if they chose one of the dates in October that Mike requested. If they did choose one of those dates, then we have to wait to see if our agency can find us a reasonable hotel room (reasonable being not too outrageously expensive, or too far away from the city). Then we will know when we are leaving.

I am not allowing myself to panic until we hear back from the Consulate. Leaving October 7th is not the end of the world; whereas I was completely ready to hop on a plane next week, it was going to be very, very complicated. I was most worried about getting a decent flight, but there were other huge holes in the plan as well. We were going to make it work, but having a few more weeks does definitely relieve some stress, too (if you're looking for a bright spot!). As long as we don't have to wait until the end of November...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Our agency just called, and the word from China was to go ahead and send us! So he has requested some dates for us for our Consulate Appointment. The new rule is that you have to request 5 dates, so he requested 3 for the 3rd week of September, and 2 for the last week of September. However, he doesn't think they will pick the last week since we have to be out of the country by Sept. 30th. He's assuming they'll pick one from the 3rd week of September, meaning we will be leaving on Thursday!!!

However, the tricky part is that we cannot buy plane tickets until we have a confirmed Consulate appointment. Due to the time difference (China is 12 hours ahead of the East Coast), we MAY have an answer tomorrow, but the Consulate actually has 5 days to respond so it could be next week before we hear anything. Since Monday is a holiday, that means we won't hear anything until Tuesday or even Wednesday- then jump on a plane on Thursday! Crazy, right?

If it's too close, we may have to skip the tour of Beijing. That would not be our first choice, however, since we need that time to adjust to the time zone and work off a little of the jet lag. And I would be totally bummed out since seeing the Great Wall is something I have really been looking forward to; I've been training for climbing it by walking up the steepest hill in our neighborhood! But we'll do what we have to do. If we skip Beijing, then we can wait to leave until Friday or Saturday (the 10th or 11th).

All this is just speculative at this point, of course. We have to wait until we hear back from the Consulate. Once we have that all-important Consulate date, our path will become clear!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

OMG- TA!!!

Our agency just called- my prayers were answered and our Travel Approval just arrived! However, we were told we have some issues. What I heard was right: October and November are literally filled with various holidays, trade fairs, and even the Asian Olympics. If we cannot get in in September or October 7th, then we will have to wait to leave until Thanksgiving Day. I told Mike that I did not want to even think about not leaving until the end of November, so he said he would look into our only other 3 options:

1) We leave next Thursday!!! (OK- PANIC MODE!!)

2) We may have to stay an extra few days to a week if we go in September due to yet another holiday in the middle of the month. This will make our trip 2-1/2 to 3 weeks instead of 2.

3) We go October 7th (IF they can get us a hotel room in Guangzhou), but it will be about double the price.

He said he'd call back tomorrow with an answer...

Now I have to run! I am shaking... I have so much to do, just in case we are leaving in a week!