Sunday, August 16, 2015

Article 5 drop off

We received our I-800 approval on Monday, August 3rd.  Most people had received theirs 14 days after they applied.  I think our officer was out of town, because had we followed the 14 day timeline, it should have been approved the Friday before.  So we were delayed a couple of days with that.  After we got approval, we got our GUZ number and filled out the DS-260 form.  This form is a visa application from the view point of Evie. (The DS-260 online form is known as somewhat of a villain...most people have to try multiple times....sometimes get in and it takes them days.  We got right in on our first try!  Thank you, Jesus, for that blessing!) We submitted that, and waited for our PDF letter from the NVC stating that our file has been forwarded to the consulate in Guangzhou.  We received the email with our PDF the day after we got our GUZ number, and emailed everything to our adoption agency.  The next step is Article 5 drop off.  This is when the agency representative in China drops off all of our paperwork to the US consulate in Guangzhou.  The consulate looks over all of the immigration forms, LOA, the visa applications, and gets everything squared away.  This process takes 10 business days.  We had our Article 5 drop off this past Thursday, August 13th.  We will have Article 5 pick-up on Thursday, August 28th.  This is when the Travel Approval wait starts.  When we get travel approval, we then send in which dates we would like for our consulate appointment (the last appointment we will have in China before traveling home).  The consulate appointment confirmation usually comes just one day after travel approval.  This is the last thing we will be waiting for from China!!!!!  Once we have travel approval, we can book our flights!!!!  We are sooo close!! 
We just booked our hotel stays for both weeks we will be in China!   We should be leaving on October 16th, and coming home on October 29th!! 
It's getting real, guys!!!!
We will have our baby in our arms in 2 months and 3 days!!!!! 

Thursday, July 30, 2015


After we received our LOA, we were able to request another update on Evie.  We got a new video, 4 new pictures, and answers to 5 questions.
1.  What name does she answer to?  Does she have any nicknames?  (I'm not sure we can share her Chinese name publicly yet, but we did get an answer)
2. Updated measurements including foot length.
    A: Head circumference - 44cm (17 in.) // Chest circumference - 45cm (17in.) // Height - 81 cm (31.8in.) // Weight - 9.5 kg (20.9lbs) // Foot length - 12cm (4.72in.)
    --She's very tiny for her age!
3. Does she take a bottle when she goes to bed?
     A: "She takes a bottle when she goes to bed at night."
4. How does she like to be comforted when she is upset?
    A: "When she is upset, her caregivers hug her or interact with her.  She would be happy soon."
5. Did she have a note with her when she was found?
    A: "No, there wasn't a note with her when she was found."

Now that we're closer to travel, I can start buying her shoes!!  I haven't bought any for her (ok...maybe one or two pair that I know she'll grow into) because I've been holding out for an updated foot measurement.
We bought pretty much everything we need for her when we go pick her up, and I already have it all packed into her suitcase!
Someone is reaching for the suckers. :)

We should be receiving our I-800 approval tomorrow.  It's hard knowing that we could technically travel some time in September, but we have no choice but to wait until October.  I know it's all in God's timing, though.  We will get her exactly on time.

Now for the new pictures.  There is no possible way this child could be any cuter than what she already is.  She just takes my breath away with her beauty!

That smile though :)

I love you so much, sweet girl!  We'll be there soon!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Letter Of Approval!!!!

We received our LOA, so we can finally share a picture of our sweet daughter's face here on the blog!!!!
Here she is!!

Our sweet Evangeline!

We received our LOA (letter of approval) on Tuesday, 7/14.  We got an email on the Wednesday before (7/8) that we were out of translation and in review.  Monday, 7/13, we received an email that our dossier status had been moved to "matched".  One day later is when we got word that they issued our LOA.  Today, Wed. 7/15, we got a call from our case worker, telling us that she received the hard copy of our LOA at their office.  She's shipping it overnight to us.  It would be awesome if I received it early enough in the day to be able to get our I800 sent off, but we'll see. 

I'm so excited!!  Chi*na now views us as Evie's parents!  We just have to fill out a few more forms, wait for visas and paperwork to be delivered to Guang*zhou, get travel approval, and we're outta here!!! 

We love you, Evangeline!!!  We're coming as fast as we can!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lost in Translation

Oh hey there, we're still waiting.  I'm sure I've annoyed our case worker so many times this week and last, asking her to check on the status of our dossier and our LOA with the CCCWA.  According to her, we are still "in process of translating".  The translation part of the LOA wait is the longest, lasting around a month, so it's not surprising that we are still in this part - our dossier was logged in on June 3rd.  Our case worker did tell us that we should be out of translation or getting close.  She said that sometimes the CCCWA will just send out the LOA without updating the case status online. 

A few people have asked me to detail them on how much longer it will be and what the next steps are.  Since this is our first go round, I have to check with other seasoned adoptive moms quite a bit on what happens next.
Right now, as I mentioned, our dossier is being translated.  The next step will be "in review" in which they will make sure we meet all the qualifications to adopt our girl.  After they have reviewed everything, we get our LOA (letter of approval) which is China telling us they approve us to adopt Evie.  We are hoping to get this letter in a week or two from now!!  After we receive our LOA, we will apply for her visa to enter the US and gain citizenship, which is known as the I-800.  This process takes about 2 weeks.  After this step of her visa approval, the NVC (National Visa Center) will issue us a GUZ number (I have no idea what GUZ stands for).  This number will replace our immigration SIM number and shows that our case has been assigned to the Guangzhou consulate.  This takes about a week after I-800 approval.  After that, we take our GUZ number and fill out yet another visa application online, from the view point of our child.  Next we wait for Article 5 drop off/pickup, which is where they drop off all of our paperwork at the US consulate in Guangzhou...they will then look over everything (immigration approvals , LOA, visa applications).  Our agency rep will pick up that packet and the approval paperwork is sent to the CCCWA in Beijing.  All of that takes about 3 weeks.  Then our TA (travel approval) wait begins!  This step takes anywhere from 7-10 days on average.  China will issue us a "Notice of Coming to China for Adoption"!!!  Once we have that, we schedule our CA (consulate appointment) and travel plans.  Whew!  I think all of that is correct, or at least it's close... :)

The travel schedule should look something like this:  We will leave on a Friday, arrive in her province on Saturday, spend Sunday getting all rested up...jet lag and all...(haha!) and finally meet our daughter on Monday!  We will stay in her province until Friday, signing papers, getting her passport, and doing a little shopping!  Friday, we will leave for Guangzhou, where the US consulate is located, and the finalization of the adoption will take place.  Saturday will be her visa medical exam, Monday will be preparing paperwork for her visa, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday will be the visa appointment (this is our consulate appointment), and then wait (hopefully just a day) for her visa to be issued!!!   Once we have that, we can return home!!  All of this is obviously subject to change, as we don't know the exact days of the week these appts will happen.

If this timeline plays out correctly, we are looking at leaving Oct. 16th, which is a Friday.  We could possibly leave earlier, but our adoption agency only travels once a month to her province.

Things we would love prayer for:

1. For the process to be smooth and quick, with no unusually long waits.
2. For our biological kids' hearts - their lives are about to change forever.  Please pray that God will speak to them and prepare their hearts and minds to accept this change gracefully.
3. For Evie's heart - this precious child is about to be removed from everything she knows and is familiar with.  She is about to enter into a world where she knows no one, doesn't speak the language, and can't verbalize what she is feeling.  Please pray for God to protect her little mind, to make this transition as easy on her as possible, and for her to feel accepted, loved, and at peace.  
4. Please pray for God to provide the rest of the money we need to be fully funded.
5. Please pray for my heart and Mike's heart and that the sting of this wait will pull us closer to each other, and to our God, and teach us to rest in His perfect plan.
6. We as parents are entering into a lifetime of caring for a child with a disability.  Pray that we will be advocates for her, that we will look beyond a diagnosis, and to teach others to do the same.
7. Pray that we are connected to the best doctors, groups, and schools that will help Evie reach her full potential.

 We're getting closer, angel girl!!!  Mommy can't wait to snuggle you, kiss you, and rock you to sleep, sweet love!! 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

LID and secret sister

We have a log in date!!  After our dossier was sent to China on May 29th, we didn't know exactly how long the wait would be until we were logged in to China's adoption system.  We were pleasantly surprised when we saw that we were logged in just 5 days later!  Sometimes, it can take up to 2 weeks to be logged in, so we were very happy that our wait was short!  God has opened so many doors for us through this adoption, and sometimes, I just have to step back and look at how far He has brought us.  There have been so many obstacles that we thought we would have a hard time overcoming, but none of them have been an issue.  We have had short wait times on everything so far in the process, and that is nothing short of miraculous!  Of course, we don't know what from here on out looks like, but I know that God's plan is best, so we will rest in Him.
I've joined a few adoption groups on and the women on there are so encouraging!!  I don't know how people did this without the help and support of so many other people who know exactly what you're going through.  Social media does have it's perks.  One of the groups I'm part of is a secret sister group.  Each person has someone they mail a package to every month.  I've been enjoying buying goodies for my secret sister, and of course, I've loved receiving my package every month.  I have an awesome secret sister, and she's been spoiling me with really cool packages each month.  She sends different things for Evie, and a few yummy things for me!

Evie is already so spoiled!!  Mommy, grandma, mamaw, her cousins, and her aunts have already been buying clothes, toys, bows and headbands for her!  She is so loved already!!  Our whole family is so excited for her to be here! 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

We are DTC!!!!

I'm on multiple adoption boards (mainly China adoptions) and for four months, I have been reading these words from so many others, wondering if we were ever gonna get to the point where we could say that.  And we are finally here!
Being DTC (dossier to China) is a gigantic step.  Most of the paperwork is behind us.  We still have a little more with immigration, visas, travel, etc.  Once we get our LOA (letter of approval) which should be anywhere from 45-60 days from China, we can share her picture!! 
I just received word that the package we sent to her with our photo album in it has been delivered to the courier there, and she has translated our card to Evie's foster family and has shipped it off to the orphanage.  I'm really hoping we get pictures of her receiving it!  I would love to see her reaction to seeing her family for the first time.  I know her understanding of it will be limited, but it will still be sweet. 
So we wait again.  I'm praying for a fast LOA!  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Getting close to DTC!!!!

The funny thing about adoption (international adoption, at least...I don't know anything about domestic adoption) is that so much of it is this weird cycle of hurry up and do 47 things in one day, and then wait for weeks and weeks for the next thing.  Then another hurry up and rush around getting everything done, and then wait again.  It exhausting, mentally and physically.  So much of the process is out of your hands.  You are relying on others to do their jobs and to do them quickly.  And sometimes they do.  Other times they don't. 
We were waiting for one last document to come in for our dossier to be ready to send to China - our I800a approval.  We finally received it last Tues, and received that hard copy on Thurs.  Our approval wait was 39 days, which wasn't bad at all, considering there were some people waiting 90 days.  I took it to have it notarized (three times, because, oh my goodness, the wording has to be PERFECT) and then to the Secretary of State's office to have it certified.  I was too late to send it out that night, so I FedEx overnighted it on Friday to the lady that is taking it to the Chinese consulate in Chicago to be authenticated.  She will take it in on Tues. and pick it up on Thursday.  Hopefully.  We paid for the express service at the Chinese consulate, so it should be done by then.  I'm emailing her an overnight label so she can send it to our adoption agency and they can have it by Friday.  They only send dossiers on Fridays, so I'm really hoping to make this next shipment! 
The dossier is essentially the most important part in this whole process. It's our entire lives on paper...home study, medical info, financial info, background checks, education records, info on our families, etc.  It's everything about us.  After receiving our dossier, the CCCWA (China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption) will send us an LID, or a log in date.  After we are logged in, we will get updates that our dossier is in and out of translation, being reviewed, being matched, and then we will receive our LOA or letter of approval.   This whole process currently is taking about 45-70 days. 
Once we are DTC (dossier to China), most of the paperwork is over.  We still have other immigration paperwork, visas, and other documents to get ironed out, but I've heard they are nothing compared to the paper chase that is the dossier! 
We are still hoping for a November family day, although it could still very well be in October!  Which is fine by us, the sooner, the better! 
We continue to trust God in His timing and for His provision.  His hand is guiding this, and no matter how fast or slow the government and the agency move, it will all work out in His timing.  And it will be perfect.