Friday, September 30, 2016

I'm Slowly Catching Up!

I know, I am sooo behind on updating my blog! BUT, I am slowly catching up! I am working on the posts from our second adoption which will close out 2015 and then it will be on to 2016! Keep checking back!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Adoption #2 - The Home Stretch

Ya'll, we are in the home stretch!

For my fellow adoption junkies, we received I800 approval on November 17, obtained our GUZ# via phone on November 20, finally got in and completed the DS260 on November 23, and were cabled/RTF on November 24. Due to our medical expedite our Article 5 drop off AND pick up were both completed on November 25, and then the arduous wait for TA began. We had a longer than expected wait for TA, but it arrived on December 2 along with our CA which means:


The plan is for Jordan to accompany me to China while Jason stays home with the other kids. He will have help from both sets of grandparents and a few friends. While I am sad (and, truth be told, a little nervous) that he will not be going with me, I am excited to share this experience with Jordan and for her to experience China and see the Great Wall. We are super blessed that the daughter of a family in our church lives in Beijing, China and has offered to be our guide, friend, and assistant while we are there.

I am so excited! I have truly missed China and I am so looking forward to this trip back, but the highlight and true purpose of this journey, and what makes my heart sing with anticipation, is meeting our new daughter and finally holding her in my arms!

photo of the Great Wall taken on our first adoption trip
 Our basic schedule is as follows:

12/8 Fly to China (US time)
12/9 Arrive in Beijing, China (China time)
12/9 to 12/12 Tour Beijing and hang with Abby
12/12 Fly to Nanchang (Cami's province)
12/13 Meet Cami and take custody!
12/14 Finalize Cami's adoption (& celebrate Jordan's 13th birthday)
12/17 Take bullet train to Guangzhou
12/18 Medical appointment
12/21 Consulate appointment
12/23 Fly home

And now I must go because I have lots of crazy packing and preparing to do! We leave in less than a week! Eeek!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Adoption #2 - Her Name

After many name lists, at least two family votes, and a little back and forth we have finally arrived at a name for our little miss.

So without further ado I would like to introduce Camille MeiYu! We have decided to give her the nickname Cami, which is what we will likely call her most of the time.

We love you Cami and we are coming soon!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Adoption #2 - Announcement & Update

As some of you know, back in the summer of 2014 we started the process for adoption number two. We were not in a hurry at all and had decided to use the same agency we used to adopt Justin. Our plan was to again go the LID route so we knew it would take some time and that was fine with us. We applied and signed with our original agency in June 2014 and updated our homestudy in August 2014. We began working on paperwork and our dossier, and by November 2014 we had our new log in date and the wait for a match began.

By December it was clear that some things were not right with our agency, and we had some hard decisions to make. In early February it was clear that we could not, in good conscience, continue with our original agency and so began a very hard and stressful road that lasted for months (these were difficult months and I am not going to get into all of the details here because the story is long and I want to focus on the good that came out of it). As hard as this time was God had a plan and in June 2015 we signed with a new agency that we absolutely love and would highly recommend. We quickly started working to update our homestudy (again) and compile a new dossier (yes, another one) when it happened.

We went into this second adoption open to either a boy or girl. The list of needs we were willing to consider was extensive and we were expecting that we would go the LID route and be matched with a young boy. It was a Monday evening at the end of July and I was working on our dossier when I happened to check our agency's waiting child list where our agency posts children who are listed as special focus and they do not have any families currently open to the child's need(s) and/or age. And that's when I saw her.

I immediately sent an email to our agency's waiting child coordinator:

I was just looking at the waiting child list and we are interested in Charlotte. If she is still currently unmatched please let me know what we need to do to view/hold her file.

My heart was in my throat as I waited for her reply. I made the mistake of watching the video of her that was posted on their site and fell deeper in love. I called our agency coordinator (because I'm impatient like that) and she told me that two other families had seen Charlotte posted on the website, inquired about her, and were reviewing her file. I was crushed, but she told me she would put us on the list just in case.

I would later find out that Charlotte had been placed on the agency's waiting child list because they thought they did not have any families open to her special need. But they did. We had clearly indicated that we were open to thalassemia on our medical needs check list, but the coordinator had accidentally overlooked it. She felt terrible. I was SO disappointed, but I did not lose hope.

A week later she sent me an update via email:

Hi Jennifer,
I wanted to let you know that one of the families reviewing Charlotte’s file has decided to move forward with her adoption. Just wanted you to know that I haven’t forgotten about you. Sorry that I missed the potential match with Charlotte. =( I’ll make it up to you =)

Dagger to the heart. I worked through it. I let it go. I was glad she had a family and would soon be home receiving the medical treatment she so desperately needed. I focused on getting our home study update done and our dossier ready. Since we changed agencies we needed to also file a supplement 3 for our I800a to update it and request an extension on our approval and fingerprints. There was still much to do on the paperwork side so that we could be DTC and get a new LID.

On August 17 I sent a random email to our agency coordinator with a few questions and received a reply along with an additional note to please call her on her direct line when I had a chance. This was a little unusual, so of course I called her immediately. She picked up and we said our 'hi, how are yous,' and then told me that the other family had decided not pursue Charlotte from the website and if we were still interested in her the file was ours to review. I almost dropped the phone. I think I teared up a little. What!? This was crazy! I said 'yes, absolutely!' I called Jason down from upstairs and told him. Our agency coordinator sent us the file to review, but I already knew our answer. There was no doubt in my mind and Jason felt the same. This was our daughter. Only God! On August 19 we officially said yes and sent our LOI to our agency (although we could not lock her file and submit out LOI until her official came in).

Due to her medical condition our little sweetie needed to get home as quickly as possible, so we made the decision to request a medical expedite for her adoption which meant we were on the fast track and had to get our homestudy done and dossier on its way to China ASAP! Luckily we had a little time cushion because her official file was not yet in. It was at this point I turned into crazy adoption mama rushing around trying to get everything done in record time and is the reason I do not have many photos from August through November.

On August 28 we had the finalized copy of our homestudy in hand, and sent it along with the rest of our dossier paperwork off to Washington DC to be certified and authenticated. On September 11 our supplement 3 went to USCIS and on September 28 our dossier was on its way to China (DTC)! After a little wait due to a Chinese holiday we received word that we were officially logged in (LID) on October 12, and had supplement 3 extension and approval on October 13.

At this point her official file was still not in and the wait was killing me! Waiting for the official file was one of the hardest waits of the process, second only to the wait for TA. We did have some very good news during the wait though: China agreed to our request for medical expedite and within two weeks of LID our dossier had completed the translation and review steps.

The official file came in on Friday, October 30 and our LOI was submitted immediately, and by that Monday, November 2 soft LOA was showing in the system. Unfortunately, when the hard copy of our LOA arrived at our agency on November 5, I immediately noticed a typo (her birth year was wrong) which meant a week delay while we waited for China to correct the typo and issue a new LOA. Once we had the new LOA we sent that to USCIS to catch up with our I800 and by November 17 we had I800 approval and things were moving right along.

Meanwhile in the midst of all this our agency visited several of their orphanage partnerships in China and her orphanage was one so we were able to send her a little care package with a photo book, blanket, and stuffed toy. Best of all our agency took new photos and a video for us. Oh, the photos did this mama's heart good!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fall 2015

Fall 2015 was super busy and exciting, but I will get to the biggest news in the next post!

I do not have very many pics for fall 2015, but I do have these of our four sweeties who are growing up so fast! My sister took these and I can hardly believe how time flies! Just look at my handsome guys and beautiful girls! We are so blessed!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Summer 2015

Vacations and Summer Fun

Mini vacation with friends to the Creation Museum and Newport Aquarium

Extended family vacation to Hocking Hills (complete with zip-lining!)

Random summer fun