Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year approaching

Christmas has come and gone in a flash! Xiao, our exchange student 08-09, came to stay with us for 10 days, and once again our house was filled, almost to the brim with stinky boys! We went skiing for 3 days, and visited an indoor water park. Our routine was disrupted, and, really, everyone survived. This mom hasn't worked-out in over a week (and that's a big deal in our house!), but life goes on. We are all celebrating, and also relaxing. Happy New Years!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Schooling older adopted children

I've had several people who visited my blog ask about schooling our children after their adoptions. Ben was 6.5 and John was almost 14 when we adopted them March 2010. If you read our first blog, http://petersadoption.blogspot.com -- I stopped blogging when the children were just going to begin public school. Well, public school was a big, big mistake. Really. IF it is at all possible, do NOT send your older adopted child to public school. First of all, John had to spend a week testing, as mandated by the state of NY and our Federal government. He didn't understand two words of English, of course, so the testing itself was upsetting, confusing and frustrating. Then, the school decided to place John in 6th grade (age 14--normally 8th grade), and (because of his test results) he was required to take 3 periods of ESL a day. His ESL class was made up of Spanish speaking migrant workers' children, and it was a complete and utter waste of time. I sent in several hundred of English/Chinese flashcards that I bought, and I purchased an English language learning program for Chinese speakers for $500.00. The teacher basically babysat the kids all day and did not even look at the resources that I provided. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the only English he learned at school, in  the 10 weeks he attended, were profanities. His first full English sentence was to tell his brother to "F off." In addition, John latched on to the kids who would readily accept him, and naturally they were the losers, dealers, and delinquents. John was almost 14 years old upon adoption, but, like most institutionalized children, he was several years behind socially, emotionally and academically. He looked an acted like a 10 year old. Also, attending school all day really slowed down John's English acquisition. Sitting in a classroom most of the day with kids who did not speak English (and had no intention of learning English) only made John resist us more. In addition, it took away from the time that we had with him to establish our bonding etc. In June, we called a meeting with the administration, guidance office, ESL teacher etc. I have never seen my husband go absolutely bonkers (he is an attorney), but I thought his head was going to explode when the vice-principle bluntly announced that John would never graduate high school. He'd be 21 (and age out first) because John was going to miss 3 core subject classes a day, in order to attend his federally mandated ESL classes. John would not get enough credits to graduate, according to the administer, in four years. I had to almost physically restrain my husband. Then the principle said that, by the way, HE was going to make the educational decisions for John, since John was at school 6 hours a day and ultimately the principle is responsible for the child's education and the principle knows what is best. Umm. No. Sorry. You just happen to work here right now. Our son's education is way more important to us, than it is to you, jerk. You might have him for a few years, but he is our son forever!! And we know him better, understand his needs, and you know virtually NOTHING about children adopted from China, or their needs! I am certified in NY to teach Reading K-12 and English 5-12, so I could at least speak the school's lingo, but the administration was practically trying to bully us!  As I said, I'd never seen my husband go ballistic, but he went nuts when the school told us that they were going to make all the decisions because they knew what was best. And that John would never be successful because it was just too late for him. The next day I started a search for a private school. Our oldest son (now age 16) has been attending an all-boys college prep school, McQuaid Jesuit, since 7th grade, and at that point I was homeschooling our son who was 10. McQuaid, however, has rigorous admission requirements and costs 2 arms and a leg. And I just didn't feel up to homeschooling an angry, defiant teenager who didn't know English. We knew that McQuaid or homeschooling wouldn't be an appropriate education for John. Then, I found Lima Christian School that offers K-12. The school works with several agencies in Asia (China and Korea) that sends students to Lima Christian to master English so that they can get accepted into American Universities. The school knows how to work with Asian students, and the other ESL Asian students in the school are highly motivated to succeed. The school placed John in 8th grade (only one grade below age appropriate), and arranged his schedule so that he had the ESL teacher all to himself for one period a day. He also had a study hall where he was peer-tutored every day. The teachers hold him to the same standards as the other students, but they do provide extended test taking time when necessary. We receive weekly progress reports, and we spend hours with him at night doing homework. The school jumps through hoops to make certain that we are happy, and they check with me before adjusting his schedule or giving him modified assignments.  Now, John is in 9th grade and he works independently( most of the time) at the 9th grade level. He maintains a B/A- average. At my request, we continued the one period a day with the ESL teacher.  She makes certain that he is "getting" everything. Next year he will join the regular English class and will no longer be considered an ESL student. Ben (age 8.5 now, 6.5 upon adoption) never received ESL classes. He's completely fluent in English, and at grade level in math, and reading at Kindergarten level. He receives a double dose of reading class, and receives tons of extra help. At the private school we are the consumer...they will adjust the curriculum to meet the child's needs because if they don't they know that we can find another school! Our son Connor, who was home-schooled for several years, would be in 7th grade in public school because of his age. He is in 8th grade at LCS, because of his abilities, and in 10th grade math and science. Of course, he has a 95 average too. With a graduating class of only 16, the school can be flexible and meet all our children's needs! Hooray!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mid-life decisions


On the way home from taekwondo class last night, Connor (age almost 13) happened to mention that one of his friends spends most of his hours, days, and weeks, completely alone, except for when he is at school.  Then Connor mentioned that two more of his friends are in the exact same situation. These parents all had a late-life child (all big families), and the last child is virtually raising himself while the parents move on to their retirement lives. The whole conversation just reinforced for me that we are absolutely doing the right thing adopting more little guys! Otherwise, I'll be in my early 50's when the three teens graduate, and Ben will be the kid who is just left behind. We want to keep the laughter, the lessons, the chaotic dinner around the table every night for Ben.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I800 correction

We received our corrected I800 approval today! I actually forgot that the first approval had Dang Tong's name spelled wrong and that we needed to receive a new one. Now, our DS230 can be submitted so that we can move to the next step. Hooray! This past weekend I joined another half-dozen yahoo groups for parents adopting (or who have adopted) from China. I was thrilled to finally find the group for Heilongjiang province. I searched once before and couldn't find it, but this time it popped up! I also found a group called DTC2011. All the people on this group are on a similar timeline as us. Maybe, just maybe, we'll meet up with some of my online friends when we travel!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our boys will be boys

This weekend, I was reminded how different everything will be once we have two more little ones. For instance, I organized a Christmas caroling party for Sat. evening. The teens shunned the caroling, and I had to drag them to the car (figuratively) with a promise to take them skiing on Sunday if they cooperated. So the teens (and their friends) trudged along the roadside, but did not sing and they did not cooperate. Ben excitedly rang the doorbells and tried to get into the spirit of the carols for awhile; then the teens convinced Ben that caroling wasn't cool, and he began to hang back with the spoilsports. Next year, we'll have three little ones and the joy will NOT be contained! I also realized that it will be much harder to have our movie nights. As it is, lately we are watching movies I do not think are appropriate for 8 1/2 year old Ben (Harry Potter, for example); once we have three little guys, it will be darn near impossible to find movies that everyone in the family will enjoy. Hmmm. Tonight we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Xiao, our exchange student 08-09. He currently attends University of Chicago, and he is going to stay with us for ten days. We can't wait to see him!! He came to visit last Thanksgiving, and he also stayed with us in Beijing during  our adoption trip in 2010. Hooray for Xiao. Now off to cook a mountain of food!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Do They Know it's Christmas

I haven't been writing much about our adoptions because there hasn't been anything new to report. However, I DO think about, worry about, pray about and prepare for our adoptions every single day. I read other people's adoption blogs constantly, and I ponder why our adoptions are taking soooo darn long. It's been a year since we submitted our pre-approval paperwork, and we truly thought that we would have the boys already. In fact, we thought that by reusing our dossier, we might even travel to China the summer of 2011. NOT. I read a blog yesterday that listed the homestudy date six months after ours, and they already have their new children home! But I keep reminding myself that this is not in my control. I have to grieve and relieve. That is the term I learned today in the workshop I attended, entitled, "Power and Control...Who's Really in Charge Here Anyway." We need to grieve our loss of control, and then relieve ourselves of the need for control. Basically, give it up to God, because it's not in our hands. So..nothing new on the adoption front, but I am buying presents for Sam and Leo to send to China every time I Christmas shop. On another note, I've convinced John to write down his "story." John is motivated to make money, and I told him that he could author a book about Chinese orphanages etc. from his perspective and list it on Amazon. Finally, John is motivated to write in English!! And, maybe, just maybe, we will learn more about his past. We've heard little tidbits, but not about all the trauma he has suffered. Writing down his story, I'm convinced, will help him in endless ways. Every once in awhile I get a brilliant idea! Hooray!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I 800 Approval

Our I800 approval arrived the other day, dated December 1st. However, our little guy's name is spelled wrong (Tung, instead of Tong) and we have to have it corrected. No big deal, since there is now NO Way we are going to travel before the end of this year. In fact, we are not in a rush at all anymore since the earliest we can travel is April. Our next step is to submit the DS230 form to China. In the meantime, I've been buying Christmas presents for the boys at home, and I'm trying to decide when it will be the best time to send gifts, photos and letters to our boys in China. Our caseworker said that it is NOT appropriate to send multiple packages over the course of the next five months. I see on blogs that parents often send lots of letters etc., but our caseworker said that the orphanage staff finds that practice upsetting. One particular child then gets showered with goodies and the other children simply wait. I'm now leaning toward sending things at the end of January. The Chinese New Year is at the end of January this year, and gifts are welcome at that time. I will pick up a few things to send after Christmas. I've already purchased a few toys to take with us when we go to China, including a marbleworks set. The four boys (we have decided to take Ben with us now too!) can play that for hours! I've also purchased overnight diapers (on sale) "just in case." It's easy to assume that 5 year old and a 6 1/2 year old boys would be completely potty-trained, but lots of little boys wet the bed at night and I want to be prepared. I can always donate them to the orphanage later if we don't need them.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

LOA!!

Friday evening (Nov. 4) we received a call from Elizabeth Rose that we finally received our Letter of Confirmation for the adoptions! Whoo hoo! Of course, the first question I asked, IF there is ANY chance we could expedite everything and travel in December still. No, that just won't happen, I was told. With that knowledge, I can actually pick out travel dates for April. We think we'll shoot for April 5-April 21st. At least it will be warmer in Daqing then, and blazing hot in Guangzhou. It's still five months away, but I'm feeling like the adoptions are now more real. We just pray the boys will all adjust and be happy with us. Tomorrow I'm going to compose letters and care packages to send. Five months is a longgg time to wait for a little guy. Maybe I should hold off on mailing the letters and photographs until closer to travel?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Grrrr

Today I asked if we ever received the blood test results we requested (HIV and syphilis) for Dang, Tong. No, as a matter of fact, we didn't. Later, I got an email saying that once again we were sent the Dr. form requesting the tests, but no actual test results. These tests are standard and the results are usually part of the medical records. Now, it seems that we have to ask to have the tests repeated, since the results are no where to be found. I feel bad for our little guy having to go through yet one more blood draw, but the test results are important! I was also told that the agency checked on our file Oct. 11th, and there is no particular reason for the LONG wait for our Letter seeking confirmation. Our file is in process, and that is that. Another list serve friend had a log in date of July 20th, and they already have I800 approval! They will probably travel in November!! Grrr.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Foster care and speech services

Yesterday, the social worker from the Department of Social Services came to re-certify us as foster parents. I've known her for years, of course, and we ended up chatting for three hours!! One of the big questions she asked is why we continue to get certified, if we don't plan on providing foster care anytime soon. I confessed to her my feeling that someday, sometime, the four children we fostered in 2008 will return to us, and I want to keep our certification for that reason. I told her about our pending adoptions, and the whole name dilemma too. As we spoke, she asked me my biggest strength as a parent. At the moment, I'd have to say advocating for our children's educational rights. For example, it took me two, less than polite, phone calls to straighten out the school district yesterday. Our Christian school receives its speech services through the public school, and the public school decided that our sons did not qualify for speech therapy. Excuse me? Really? Their English pronunciation is clear and they've met their goals? No? Well, then do NOT try to tell me my children do not qualify for services, just because your public school budget is tight. We pay taxes AND tuition. Tell me all about tight budgets, and cut someone else from the program if you must, because if you cut my children from the program I'm going to seek services elsewhere and sue the district to pay for it!! Ha! For once I won an argument with the school district on the first round! Hooray!! Yep. I went into Mamma Bear mode, once again!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Who will watch the children while we're gone?

I've been reading dozens of blogs over the years, and I was inspired to try to make this blog easier to navigate and more attractive. I changed the design somehow, and now I have a difficult time getting to the page where I can post. I can "view" the blog, but I have to sign in to a different page to post now. Sometimes I can't figure out how to post at all. In any event, my biggest logistical hurdle these days is figuring out WHO will watch the children when we're in China. When we thought we were going in December, we had a multitude of caregivers (college students) from who to choose. Xiao, our former exchange student was our top choice. Now, he'll be back in school in April, and we don't know exactly who will watch the kids left at home. We hate to have our kiddos wait any longer than necessary, but it's possible we'll have to postpone going to China until June, when everyone is out of school. Yikes!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall is here

Well, it's now the first week of October, which is the National Holiday for China to celebrate their Independence. Most businesses are closed for the week, and no paperwork will be processed during the vacation. With Chinese holidays and the US holidays, there are a ton of government holidays between October-February. We are definitely NOT going to get our paperwork completed in time to travel in December now. At least now I can make plans. We will have to wait until the first week of April to travel, so I need to figure out who will watch the children while we are gone. If we traveled in December, I could have had Xiao or Cheng stay with them, but college is not closed in April. Plan B in progress.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A half dozen






It's interesting how I can now justify certain purchases or actions, now that we'll have a half dozen boys in the house. For example, since there will be six boys soon, it's definitely worth it to invest in an air hockey table and a full size drum set!! And last month, I started mowing the front field (3+ acres) so that the kids will have a soccer sized flat field on which to play. Our rolling 3 acres that we already mow just isn't enough anymore, and the front field is flat, flat, flat. I'm already used to cooking for a crowd. It's rare that I don't make enough food to feed a family double the size of ours. In fact, on Friday night we are hosting 6 boys from NYC(overnight) so that they can run in the McQuaid Invitational race on Saturday. We do it every year, and we still often we end up with leftovers! We have four banquet tables permanently set up in the hot-tub room, lined with crockpots etc., just so that we can quickly set up a buffet anytime. Underneath the tables are five coolers, filled with assorted drinks, waiting at the ready.
On another note, we received an email from Elizabeth saying that when WACAP called the CCCWA about our file on Monday, they were told that our application letter wasn't in the file. Grrrr. Eventually, they straightened it out, but Elizabeth is fairly certain that we WON'T be able to travel in December. I'm not losing hope, although I'm already working out plan B. In fact, in my typical fashion I'm trying to see the silver lining. We won't be away from the children on Christmas. The weather will be much nicer in April. Austin will be at the Olympic Training Center for at least one week in April, which makes it easier to find someone to host him for a visit. We will not have the boys on our cruise in February. Yes, this is actually a little bit better for the children, we think, because KangChao and Tong might have motion sickness, other illnesses, or adjustment issues that will not be desirable on a cruise-ship. The trip can be one last hooray before we add to our family again. The airfares are significantly less expensive in April. See? I can look on the bright side, and ignore the fact that we will not get the tax refund we were hoping we would get. Everything works out for the best. Truly. Mine task is not to question, only to put my faith that God has a plan.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Last chance



This week is our last hope to get our Letter of Confirmation (also called LOA) in time for us to travel in December. Even if we DO receive it this week, we'll be cutting it pretty close. In church this week I wrote our special intention in the prayer book, lit a prayer candle, and lifted our anxiety up to God. Now, all I can do is trust that things will work out for the best, either way, since the matter is in God's hands. This week John and I compiled a photo book to send to our sons in China, and John wrote in Chinese on the back of each photo. John also translated a letter to another boy, Kang Zhu, that one of my email friends is adopting from the same orphanage as KangChao. We "met" in a yahoo group, and we've been chatting almost daily about our adoptions. We might actually get to meet in China; if not in China, we will plan to meet with our sons (who are friends in the orphanage) in the summer. Yesterday, David and Ben hung up curtains in the new bedroom. I do not miss having an office one iota, and the new wall/doorway looks like it's always been there. I'm so pleased! I originally ordered bedding and curtains that had lions, tigers and cheetahs on it, but the set is back-ordered for two months, so I ended up going with a simple striped bedding from Walmart for now. When David came home and saw how the new bedroom looked his first comment was "This room is so big, we could easily put FOUR boys in here!" Too funny!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Referral paperwork



Yesterday, I mailed the referral paperwork back to WACAP. One of the 100 documents we had to sign has us promise that we would NOT post our children's photos on the internet or anywhere else. Consequently, I removed from this blog all the photos of the boys. I'll put them back on this site later, when the boys are legally ours! I see blogs with photos of children awaiting adoption daily, but, now that I signed the document, I feel that I need to follow the official rules. The referral paperwork took about two hours to complete. One advantage of all this paperwork is that I'm getting quite familiar with official forms. When it comes time to fill out college applications for Austin, I'll think it's a breeze!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Names again





As I mentioned before, I've been listening to Chinese lessons on Cd in my car. I was consistent and making progress last year, when I had to drive the kids to school everyday, but I didn't study at all over the summer. Now, I'm again trying to learn at least a little Chinese. As I was listening to the lesson on how to ask and tell time, I suddenly realized that the number six is "liu" pronounced similar to the name Leo.



6 liù
A few months ago Leo was one of the names we were seriously considering for KangChao. Now, I feel like the name Leo is the perfect name for Dang, Tong, who will be our sixth son! Also, the bedding that I ordered does have lions (and other big cats) on it. But, if we name Dang, Tong the American name Leo, what do we name KangChao? I'm not wild about the combination of Logan and Leo. So, now we're back to thinking maybe Samuel and Leo. Hmmm. Thoughts on this anyone?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jealous


Lately I've been the tiniest (or maybe even a little bit more than that) jealous of other families who seem to sail through the adoption process. I follow a blog of a family that has adopted 4 children in 18 months from China, and they are about to travel for two more little ones. They somehow managed to complete their paperwork and travel in 8 to 9 months! For their pending adoptions, their log in date is several weeks after ours, and they already have their LOA! In addition, they have received tons of photos of their children, and have been able to write and send presents to them already. I know it's rather petty of me, but I can't help but wonder what I could do to make things go faster. We are still just hoping and praying that we receive our LOA for both boys next week. If we don't get them by the end of next week, our chances of traveling in December are slim to none. As I've mentioned before, we need to travel during a school break if we are going to take John with us. That means December or April. I know lots of people have no trouble taking kids out of school for a few weeks, but JP struggles to keep up as it is. If he misses a day of school, he spends two weeks trying to catch up. Of course, he has only lived here 16months and his reading and writing are not yet at 9th grade level. After having a summer reading tutor four days a week, he can now read at a fourth grade level. We want him to be able to come to China with us, and it's important to him, but if we receive our LOA in October then our travel date should be in January. Ugh. It's so hard to plan anything when adopting!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Finally some news!



I finally received an update! We do NOT have to create a whole new dossier to adopt Dang, Tong, and in fact, we have already received our Pre-approval for him!!! The CCCWA does want us to rewrite our adoption application letter, indicating that we are adopting two children, and have that notarized and authenticated. What I found hilarious is that the WACAP agency rep. came right out and said for us to go ahead and write it (and yes also get it notarized and authenticated), but the CCCWA might very well forget they even asked for it and just issue our Letter of Confirmation (also known as Letter of Approval-LOA). So again I jump through hoops for no apparent reason, just because I want to make sure we are doing everything in our power to expedite the adoptions. Maybe, just maybe, we will be able to travel in December after all. I've been in email communication with another family who is adopting a friend of Logan's, and they are at about the same place in the process, with the same agency. It would be awesome if we got to meet in China! This morning I spent 2 hours completing the I800 (petition to classify convention adoptee as an immediate relative), DS230 (application for immigrant visa and alien registration) and the I864W (intending immigrant's affidavit of support exemption) forms. I should be receiving another big packet of paperwork to fill out (in our referral packet) sometime next week. I am really getting excited! I have a contractor coming today to see about building the wall to close in the room that was my office, and what will be a bedroom for the three little guys. The bunk beds are all set up, and Ben and I have been surfing the net looking for the perfect bedding. At the moment, Ben likes the idea of lions, or tigers. Maybe we should go back to the name Leo for KangChao and use a lion theme for the room?

Monday, September 5, 2011

47 days


We are on day 47 of our wait for our LOA, and we still don't know if we can use our existing dossier to adopt Isaac too. Fortunately, we have a busy and active household, and time passes fast. The 3 youngest boys are starting school this week, and I'll be able to get back into the gym. We had some friends over for a Labor Day cook-out (after we all ran a 5k race together!) and it was great fun. The photo is of our boys, plus our friends' boys, playing some type of rescue mission. It was quite the diverse crowd, with our Spanish speaking friends, Norwegian friends, and Chinese speaking sons. We had 7 boys and 5 dogs, plus 7 adults, for dinner, and it was exactly how I like it. LOUD, Busy and active!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dentist


As usual, I spend quite a bit of time the last few weeks of the summer taking the kids for dentist and doctor appointments. When I scheduled their next appointment for a cleaning, I actually made appointments for all six boys!! I'm hopeful that by spring, when they are all due for their next six month cleaning, we'll have Logan and Isaac home with us! So, for the very first time, I said their names in an official capacity. Does this mean that we can't change their names yet again? No, not really. But one step closer to being "set" on their names at least. On another note, I finally printed up 275 photos of our trip to China and put them in a photo album. I had a computer "scare" (thought I had a virus) and that incident reminded me that I never back up my data. I can lose all my word documents and not be too upset, but if we lost the photos of our adoption trip I'd be heart-broken. I ended up printing over 700 photos total, and created 3 different photo albums. One for the China trip, one for taekwondo photos, and one of everything else. Looking at the China photos reminded me that I haven't heard from WACAP for awhile. We are still waiting to hear if we can use our (reused) dossier to adopt both boys at once. If CCAA says no, then we'll have to create another whole new dossier for Isaac. That will be a big bummer. Obviously, we will cross that bridge when we get to it. In the meantime, I'm of the opinion that no news is good news. School starts in 5 days, and we are counting down the days.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rearranging the house






It's summertime and I've been crazy busy driving the boys to their various lessons. Austin started his cross-country practices (2.5 hours a day), and JP and Connor attend 12-15 taekwondo classes a week, plus they are also on their school's cross-country team, which practices 2 hours each evening. Ben attends 6-7 taekwondo classes a week, and drum lessons too. We haven't been able to have our family dinner much lately with this new schedule, and that makes everyone a little "off." In addition to all that, we've been volunteering at a horse rescue (shoveling poop, mostly) one morning a week, and the 3 older boys have their guitar lessons. Ben received a new drum set (a good one!) for his 8th birthday last week, and the house has been alive with music these days. Connor is performing in a talent show with his (first) girlfriend, and they have been practicing their duet. Last night we sat around a bonfire and listened to them practice together. It was just fabulous. The big boys played basketball, ultimate frisbee and just enjoyed the last days of summer. School begins Sept. 7th for the three who attend Lima Christian School, and Austin begins September 12. In spite of being almost frantic with activity, I still managed to get on a re-arranging the house kick. Call it summer madness, but I decided that my downstairs office should be converted into another bedroom. Yes, we have the extra bedroom in the basement if we need it, but I don't want any of the kids to make that room their bedroom. It's too far from our bedroom, and the room is full of exercise equipment and instruments too. So, with help from Austin, I dragged all my bedroom furniture (except the king-sized bed) down into the office. The desk had to be dragged upstairs, which was a huge pain in the you know what. The computer network will also have to be reconfigured to work in our bedroom. Then, everyday last week, before picking up Austin from cross-country practice, I stopped at a furniture store for a quick look at their bunk-beds. I always know exactly what I want, which makes it difficult for me to shop. I breeze in, take a quick look, and quickly reject everything on display. Salespeople just don't know what to do with me! I tell them, if you have what I'm looking for, I'll know in a minute. Finally, I found a bunk-bed set that matched my criteria. Single on top, double on the bottom, wood stained light cherry, can be separated into two beds, and four under-bed drawers. It's being delivered on Tues. Then, since I moved our dressers downstairs, we needed new dressers. I figured if I was going to buy new dressers, they should be for us, not the children, since we don't break things as often. And it needs to match the desk I just brought upstairs. Another dozen trips to various furniture stores, and viola, a match. I liked it so much I bought the nightstand too! Now all I have to do is hire someone to build a wall and a doorway. The office opens into the living room, and that won't work of course. Then we have to decide exactly who will get the new room! JP is already making moves on it, since it's bigger than his room now, but if JP moves downstairs, then Connor will have to move into JP's old room and let the 3 little guys have the bigger upstairs room. It'd be easier to move Ben downstairs, and then have Logan and Isaac join him there. Anyway, it's been a big project. The re-arranging of furniture brought me to the decision to give away the big desk and file cabinets that were in the rec. room downstairs. We moved them there temporarily when David consolidated his two offices into one, and it was time to finally find them a home. I posted them for sale on facebook, but ultimately ended up donating them to the martial arts academy. Now there is a ton more space in the rec. room. Hmmm. Maybe a foosball or air hockey table? We have a pool-table and ping-pong table down there already. For someone who hates to shop, I've been on a roll lately!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

LOG IN DATE!!!

Well, today was a big surprise! We received a log in date of JULY 20! Wow! Almost a month ago our dossier was logged in, and we just now found out! This is the email I received:
"Ok, so… I know I told you that the CCCWA told us that they wouldn’t give you a log-in date until they got the Application Letter from us (notarized, verified and authenticated) and we still haven’t gotten that back from the Consulate yet (any day now), but … the CCCWA just sent us your log-in date – July 20th! Only 8 days after your dossier was sent. I don’t have an explanation."

Now of course we are back to hoping for a December travel date. Too funny! God has a sense of humor, I think, because the more I plan the less control I have over things!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New PHOTOS!

Hooray!!! Someone on our Jinan SWI yahoo group traveled to China last month and took new photos of our son Logan!! How wonderful it is to see him and know that he's growing and playing! Another family in Virginia is adopting the boy playing with Logan, and we're already hoping we can reunite the boys for a play-date in the future!! Hooray for the internet! After the boys are legally ours, I'll post the photos!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Another delay

I've been asking the agency why we don't yet have a log in date, and this is the response I received last night:
" I checked in with our staff again about your log-in date. Apparently, the CCCWA is saying that they aren't going to log it in until they get your application letter notarized verified and authenticated. This is exactly opposite of what they told us when the issue first came to light a few weeks ago - they said that they were going to process things anyway without it and would accept a faxed copy of the letter pre-authenticated. So, unfortunately, now we aren't going to get a date until the letter gets there. It came back from State today. We're going to rush it through authentication. It should get back late this week or early next and will go right back out to the CCCWA. I'm also going to push the envelope a little bit with them and see if they won't log-in your dossier with a faxed copy of the authenticated letter. I'm sorry, I know this is really frustrating!"
We also found out that it is entirely possible that the CCCWA (used to be CCAA, now I don't know what new acronym even means!) will insist we complete a new dossier for Tong (Issac). Sigh. That will definitely take a few months more, which means we are totally abandoning the target date of mid-December travel. Easter break is now our new (we hope realistic) target date. Heck, at this rate it could be summer break before we travel!
What this really means is that we definitely won't be traveling in December.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Acronyms abound!


The "World of Adoption" includes a million different acronyms, and much like the teaching, nursing and law professions, only those in the loop actually know or understand the lingo. Currently, we are waiting for our LID (log in date) for KangChao, and permission to send our LOI (letter of intent) for Tong. What this means is that our documents were sent to China, but no one has yet logged them in for processing. They are just sitting around someplace, and we have been waiting for the log in date since July 12th. Then, we sent WACAP our letter of intent to adopt Tong also, but we were told that the agency has to get permission from China for us to even submit the paperwork for a second child. It shouldn't be a problem, however sometimes permission to adopt two children when reusing a dossier has been denied. Why some couples were denied, no one knows really. In the meantime, we are holding our collective breathe hoping no one else sends in their letter of intent to adopt Tong before we are granted permission to submit ours. The target date of December 15, one year after we submitted our application, is looking less than realistic now. We would really like to travel during a school break so that we can take J.P. with us, and if it's not Christmas break, then it will probably be Easter break in early April. Of course, when we get permission to travel, we will just have to rearrange everything and deal with the schedule at that time. It's not like we really have a say in the process. Frustrating? Yes. But it's less frustrating if you learn to just go with the flow and not try to make sense of the whole thing.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pizza for breakfast


I think I've grown over the years as a parent. One of the things that just doesn't bother me anymore is when the kids eat leftover pizza for breakfast. In fact, leftover dinner (whatever it happened to be) has been J.P.'s preferred breakfast since he arrived here from China 15 months ago. It's quick, almost always nutritious (even pizza in our house is often home-made, veggie filled, and whole wheat), and it's NOT sugar-laden cold cereal. Since John's arrival, I've actually come to the realization that cold cereal isn't that great of a breakfast after all. Parenting children from China has that affect; we begin to question why we've been doing things a certain way for many years. Why do we feel that meat has to be the MAIN dish at dinner? Not that we are going to be vegetarians or anything, but a few more vegetables in our diet is definitely beneficial. Do we really need to drive to the movie theater? We can easily bike the 4 miles.
On another note, today David took Ben to the movie theater (alone) to watch Winnie the Pooh. Ben never gets to see movies for little kids because the three teens always convince him to see their movie choice. In the fifteen months since his adoption, Ben has seen hundreds of action/thriller/fantasy movies, and zero movies geared towards first graders. In fact, Ben has seen dozens of movies that I would NEVER have allowed Austin (our almost 16 year old) to watch at age 7. Yes, I've given up on that battle too. David does a quick preview of the movie selected, and he overrules my objections 99% of the time. David believes the fact that good triumphs over evil makes the movie ok. Hmmm. Anyway, my point is that I am counting the days until Ben has little brothers too. We may have two distinct sets of boys, big boys and little boys, but at least Ben won't feel pushed to be a big boy way too soon. I can enjoy my little boys' hugs and kisses for just awhile longer.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Simply do not accept the premise of the question


David and I were watching West Wing (on DVD) the other day, and the public relations person on the show made an interesting statement. If you don't like where the conversation is going, do not accept the premise of the question. This of course, means simply refuse to engage. Lately, I've been trying harder NOT to accept the premise of the question. For example, Austin (who's been away at various camps for 3 weeks) asked, repeatedly, insistently, and loudly, why HE is always the one who has to do the dishes. Since we have a rotating monthly schedule that is clearly posted on the whiteboard, and Austin has been gone for 3 weeks, we all know that Austin doesn't always do the dishes. I had to almost physically restrain myself from marching Austin over to the calendar and angrily pointing out the last time he actually did the dishes. No. No. No. Deep breaths Mom, and just refuse to accept the premise of the question. I kept changing the subject and couldn't be drawn into the dishes debate. It was just exhausting, but it did work, at least temporarily. As I've mentioned several times in this blog, Austin (our bio son, almost 16) is currently our most difficult child. Teenagers. Ugh.Wish they could always stay little and adore Mom!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Names!


After MUCH debate and discussion, I THINK we've settled the name debate. If you read our first blog, when we were adopting John and Ben, the name argument didn't end until the month before we went to China. However, this time, I think we've decided on both of their names already. Here are some of the names we have been considering: Tobias, Leo, Isaiah, Samuel, Isaac, Alexander, Maxwell, Logan, Elias, and Mark. I conceded to the name Logan, for KangChao, under the condition that son number six (Tong) is named Isaac. What do you think? Austin, John, Connor, Ben, Logan and Isaac. We also have Leah (age 28) and Katelyn (age 21), but we rarely see them anymore since they live out of state. Then, of course our extended family, our exchange student children, Camila (22), Xiao (19), Cheng (17). Whew!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Comments?

I added the feedjit application (or whatever it's called) recently to this blog and I've been amazed that people actually read it. I write for Logan and Issac (??) because I'm going to make this into a book for them to read when they are old enough; however, I will admit that it's fun to see that others read my ramblings. Last year, I used a blog2print software and bound our first adoption blog (edited for content) http://petersadoption.blogspot.com. John is really motivated to read lately because he found our blog to book on our bookshelves. When he saw the book had photos of him, and lots of my thoughts and feelings, he decided to try to read in English, for a change. Anyway, please, if you read this blog, leave me some comments. I will NOT publish the comments in my future book for the boys. I'm just curious about your thoughts too. Also, I love to read others' blogs, so send me your links too!

How tall are they?




This morning John (otherwise known as J.P.) wanted to know the height of his new brothers. Since arriving home 15 months ago, J.P. has been a bit preoccupied with height. He's grown over well over a foot this year (and gained 30 pounds), but he's still on the short side, at 5'3", at age 15. Soon, however, J.P. will be taller than I am, and that is his true goal. He always stands next to me and claims he's taller. The other day he had me stand next to him in the sun so that he could compare the size of our shadows, finally conceding that I am, in fact, still a smidge taller. Anyway, we grabbed a measuring tape, pulled up the medical records of Dang, Tong and Fu, KangChao, and compared their heights to Ben's height. Ben is 110 cm, KangChao (Logan or Leo) is 99cm, and Tong is 84 cm. All this was accomplished with a bit of teasing....J.P. teasing Ben that Logan will be taller than him, since the medical report on Logan is a year old already. Ben got all defensive, and told J.P. to stop picking on him for being small. All good stuff. Everyone is super excited about the new brothers, and we CONSTANTLY debate their names. Of course, Austin, the kill-joy, isn't home yet from camp.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hei LongJiang Province


Since May, I've been a member of two yahoo groups, Shangdongkids and JinanSWI. These two groups have been wonderful sources of information about traveling to get Leo (I'm trying out the name Leo, instead of Logan, to see if it sticks). In fact, I've been able to on-line chat with a few people who have children who know and remember Leo!! This has been invaluable to us! Leo currently lives in Jinan, which is a few hours south of Beijing (5 hours by car, I've heard). Now, I'm busily researching the home of Dang, Tong. He is from the Northernmost province in China, Hei Longjiang Province, in the city of Daqing. That means that when we travel to China, we will travel the entire west coast, North to South! It's like traveling from Maine to Florida. OY. I do hope that we can fly from one city to the next. Dang, Tong is the furthest north, several hours by plane north of Beijing, and KangChao (Leo? Logan?) is half way to Guangzhou. We have to spend at least the last week in Guangzhou at the end of the trip to complete the medical exam and the US swearing in ceremony. I wish I could find a yahoo group from Dang, Tong's orphanage, so that I could get more information about how we will travel from Jinan to Daqing. This is going to be quite the trip!

Yippeeee!!!!




The Doctor called last night with wonderful news! Dang, Tong is perfect for our family! We found our sixth son! He's primarily healthy, and he's been growing steadily. He's extroverted, energetic, and talkative. He's a Peters for sure. SIX BOYS...WOW! So we're back to the name lists, trying to find a name we can all agree upon. I like Samuel, but John doesn't. David is still stuck on Logan (for son number 5), while I am resisting because it was the name of one of our foster children. How about Leo for our 6 year old, and Isaiah for our 4.5 year old? We all liked the name Elias, until John told us Eli in Chinese means lazy and won't work. We are all super excited! Austin is at camp though, so we can be enthusiastic now and deal with his discontent later. Life is funny. Austin simply adores Ben (calls him Xiao Ben--little Ben in Chinese) and he carries him around and spoils him. Yet, he'll be the one who will complain about the adoption of two boys. He just doesn't like change or transitions, while the rest of us roll with the punches. So we are celebrating this week, knowing next week we can listen to Austin complain.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Doctor

After making the decision to adopt two children, instead of one, I feel at peace finally. I know that Austin will have a fit when he finds out we are adopting two kids instead of one, but we will cross that bridge later. For now, I'm just searching websites for our sixth son. I asked WACAP to send us a file on a cute little 4.5 year old boy who lives in northern China, and I immediately sent the medical records to the Doctor to review. We also received medical records of another boy who is 5 years old and cute as a button. The pediatrician is an international adoption expert, and we trust her judgement implicitly. After she reviews the lab reports etc. she will tell us possible medical conditions. In December,when we met her to talk about KangChao, the doctor reviewed his file carefully and gave us the good news that KangChao appears to be healthy. KangChao is officially diagnosed with cerebral palsy, but we (and the doctor) saw no signs of CP in the 20 min. long video. We can't always know all the medical history of adoptees, of course, so we try to get ready to parent a child with any number of medical issues. I'm trying hard to be patient and wait for the doctor to call me about this 4.5 year old boy named Dang Tong and the 5 year old named Lian Mo. So..if the doctor would just hurry up and call me

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

video, disappointment, and decision


Yesterday, we finally received the video of the boy that our WACAP representative really, really liked. A month ago I sent her an email asking if she saw any "special" little guys when she was visiting Shandong last month because we are still toying with the idea of adopting two children again. Well, she was smitten by one little boy, who is missing a few fingers and toes, and probably needs casting for one foot. However, it takes awhile for the videos to be burned onto Cd etc. so we just received our copy of the boy's interview yesterday. The video was extremely disappointing. It's a 9 min. video, and half the time the camera is pointed at the kid's shoes, or at the IQ type test that he is taking. It's just not a good video. The face photo we received last month gave both David and John the impression that the child was cognitively delayed, and now the video did little to dispel that idea. The child never actually speaks on the video, at least that I can hear, and he doesn't even seem to know that he is supposed to answer the questions. Kang Chao, our almost 6 year old son-to-be, was definitely listening while the adults talked during his interview, and you could see a whole range of emotions on his face as he was being questioned. What struck the woman at WACAP about this particular 5 year old was his empathy for others. A 3 year old came in next, sobbing, and this little guy did everything he could to comfort the toddler, including giving up his new toy. While that is certainly a darling and admirable trait, our family is athletic and academic, and we all felt that this particular 5 year old will not be a good fit. What I did learn, however, is that we both felt let-down and disappointed. It was like an unexpected pregnancy, when you found out that you really weren't pregnant after all (or you miscarried), and then realized how upset you were about not being pregnant. Does that make any sense at all?? All along, we haven't been certain if we should play it "safe" and adopt one child, or go for broke and adopt two. The fact that this particular 5 year old boy wasn't "our sixth son" truly sent me the message that we are called to adopt two children again. We hate it that people think we're nuts. We hate it that our almost 16 year old is embarrassed to call us his family. I worry that our 16 year old will totally rebel, and move in with is aunt and uncle ( who totally think we're crazy and encourage him to live with them, play video games and watch TV). So..here we are...struggling through the day, wondering WHY us? Why are we the ones called to adopt?? OF course we know exactly why. We are called because we CAN. We have the money, the room in the house, the energy and the capacity to love and parent. And we are driven to give all we've got, 100%, all the time. I've run 7 marathons, our kids are ranked nationally in running and Taekwond0 (2 of the boys competed in Jr. Olympics in California this year) and we are doers. We are called because WE CAN. David and I often talk about how other people criticize us or call us crazy....and we've decided that people do that because we make their lives seem mediocre, so they criticize us to make themselves feel better. So, we are going to ignore everyone else and do what we know is right. With God's help, we are going to find another little boy, our sixth son.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Maybe...?


On June 7, I posted that David said no. We were discussing (on our way to the fingerprint appointment) whether we should consider adopting two little guys this time too, and at that time David decided no. Yet, here it is, almost two months later, and we are still discussing the idea. David keeps renting movies that feature large families (Cheaper by the Dozen, Meet the Duggars etc.) and we are both excited about the idea of having a houseful of boys. Finances aside, the more children we have, the easier things seem. In fact, when Austin was at camp this month, having only three boys at home was strange. It was just too quiet. Now we know who the real instigator is, Austin, since there was minimal bickering when you were gone!!! Ha ha! We have been asking the kids regularly....one or two little guys? Just like us, their answer varies depending on the day. We all know that we have the room and the experience to parent six children. But should we? When we had the four foster children, we had 7 children in the house, plus 2 dogs and 11 puppies!!!! The 11 (unexpected) puppies did totally wear me out, since I had to bottle feed them every two hours, but the 7 kids wasn't too crazy. Yesterday, with four boys in the house, David and I somehow managed to take a 2 hour nap. Yes, 6 boys would be a blessing. If only Austin would get on board. He commented yesterday that he feels like the white minority in our house! Should we wait for him to graduate high school (in 3 years) and then pursue adoption again? I'll be 50 in three years....It's hard to know the right thing to do. We will be receiving a video soon of another little guy that is in the same province as Kang Chao. Hmm.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Documents to China!


Yesterday, we received an email that our dossier was sent to China! Finally! It usually takes a few more weeks to receive a Log In Date. After that, we need to receive a letter of confirmation, and the I800 approval. What all this means is that we still have 6 months to wait, at least. We set a "wishful target date" of December 14 to travel. That would be exactly one year after we put in our application, and it would have us traveling over Christmas break. It will be tough to leave some of the kids home over Christmas, but if we travel over a school break time then we can at least take one or two of the kids with us. They can't afford to miss two weeks of school, but one week isn't too bad. Also, we have a cruise booked for February, and we booked a room for Logan, just in case we have him then too!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

More information!




We've been busy, busy, busy as usual and the time has flown. Connor and J.P. (John has adopted the nickname) and I went to California so that they could compete in the Junior Olympics in Taekwondo. We've also been at our cottage on Conesus Lake for the past three weeks on vacation. Even on vacation though, we continue to move towards our adoption of KangChao. When we were in the SanFrancisco airport we saw an adorable little travel suitcase with a panda bear on it, and I almost bought it for Logan. Yes, we are still calling KangChao Logan...we've toyed with the name Leo, but Logan has "stuck." In the end, I didn't end up buying the panda bag because it was a little too girly. Then yesterday I received an email from a parent who adopted a boy who is good friends with Logan!! The following is from an email I received.
"Luke told me that KangChao plays good and slides on the slide with him and runs and plays well. He told me The ladies in pink were teaching KungChao to write and cut and he was 5 when I left, and that is young! Luke said KangChao is nice and sweet and innocent. Hope this helps I will look through the pics the orphanage gave me of Luke growing up and see if we have any with your son in them. "

Thursday, June 23, 2011

timeline


Yesterday, Elizabeth Rose told me that we might be able to travel to get Logan by the end of this year. I'm not holding my breath, but I'm optimistic. I also received an email with photos of another little guy that Elizabeth Rose met when she was in China last month. Apparently, this little one impressed her, and she wants us to help find him a family. Hmmm...maybe we should reconsider adopting two little guys this time. David said no in early June, but he's been renting movies that feature large families lately and he's having a change of heart. Yes, six boys would be a handful, but we have already switched from a man-to-man defense to a zone defense. It's not any more difficult, most days, to have 5, 6 or 7. We often have the boys' friends over for days or weeks at a time. We had Austin's friend stay with us for ten days earlier this month, and other than buying more milk than usual, it didn't change anything. We rarely go skiing or on vacation without bringing a few of the boys' friends. Six boys? I say yes! Maybe even before the end of this year, with any luck!!

The most recent adoption followed this timeline:
PA (pre-approval) 7/19/10
DTC (documents to China) 12/30/10
LID (Log in date) 1/13/11
LOA (letter of acceptance) 2/24/11
I800 (US homeland security) 3/15/11
Cable from Consulate 3/24/11
A5 (article 4) 4/8/11
TA (Travel approval) 4/21/11
CA 5/19/11

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I 800A approval



We had a super busy week this week!! My dad and stepmom flew up from Florida to attend John and Ben's baptism and first communion. Our tenant moved out of the cottage, and I spent several days cleaning and getting ready for the grandparents' visit. It's also Father's Day weekend. To top it all off, the three youngest boys had a taekwondo tournament all day on Saturday, and next week we are flying to California so that they can compete in the Junior Olympics. To celebrate all these events, we had a big family and friends cookout on Sunday at the cottage. It was wonderful to see all the kids together and happy! Then, on Monday, we received our I-800A approval. I think this is the last document we need before WACAP can send our dossier to China. Hopefully, China will accept all of the paperwork from the dossier we used in 2010. This will make it much easier on us, and a little less expensive.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

what's in a name?


Here we go again!! Yes, I've been re-thinking the name Logan. For six months we've been calling KangChao his new American name, Logan. But lately I've had second thoughts about the name. First of all, we had a foster child whose name was Logan. We love him dearly, and I still entertain the idea that he may, someday, somehow, wind up back in our home. God works in mysterious ways, and I am certain, deep-down, that Logan will come home eventually. Also, Logan is not a Biblical name. I know that Austin and Connor are also not Biblical names, but adoption is guided entirely by faith, and I want our sons who are adopted to have names from the Bible. When I had Austin and Connor we didn't even attend church, so it wasn't as important then. Anyway, we tossed around names again at dinner. Boy, our dinner table is LOUD. On another note, I just read the book "20 and Counting" It's a book about a family who has 18 children!!! They are extremely organized, religious, home-schooling and fun!! I read the entire book in one day. How exciting to have such a big family!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The answer is no



Yesterday, we went to our biometrics appointment in Buffalo. The whole appointment, from start to finish, was less than 15 minutes, and we were home by 11:30. On the way to Buffalo, I asked David once again if he thought we should adopt two children this trip. He said, "No." He worries that we won't be able to give KangChao enough attention. I really think that he remembers that John was NOT nice to Ben when we adopted them together, and David is afraid a similar situation will occur if we again adopt two at once. Later, David said that we can consider adopting two more boys after Austin graduates from high school. I will be 50 years old by then, so maybe we'll decide against it, but for now I guess we are going to just concentrate on bringing KangChao home. I have a feeling that this topic will be revisited though. David takes awhile to warm up to my brilliant ideas!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Weekend 2011





This weekend we went to Washington DC to see our nation's capitol. While we were there, we were lucky enough to be able to coordinate a visit with a family who adopted a boy that is one of John's friends!! They haven't seen each other in 18 months, and it was a nice reunion for everyone. This family adopted four children from China over the years, and they brought five (of their 9) children to see us in Washington. Collectively, our two families had 9 children, six of whom were adopted from China, and we managed to feed them all dinner and watch them swim without any trouble at all. We told the family about our upcoming adoption of KangChao (Logan) and we think he lives in the same orphanage that their daughter Emma lived before her adoption. What a small world! We also went to the National Zoo to see the two panda bears that are on loan from China. Ben was so excited! We tried to see pandas in the Guangzhou Zoo, but for some reason they weren't in their cage that day. Overall, it was a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Biometrics appointment


We finally received the Appointment Notice from the Department of Homeland Securty U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. Our "biometrics" (a fancy way of saying fingerprints) appointment is June 6th at 9am. Darn. I was supposed to go on a field trip with Ben's school to the zoo that day. Obviously, I'll have to let the teacher know that I can't go anymore. We can't reschedule the appointment again. We lost almost two months by rescheduling the first appointment. Luckily, we have done this once before, and we know that no matter what we do or how much we hurry, the adoption will take over a year to finalize. That's just how long it takes, period.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

No progress


It's been over a month since I sent the notice to the Dept. of Homeland Security asking them to reschedule our finger-print appointment, and we still haven't heard anything back. I've called them twice and left two messages, with no response. In the meantime, I booked our next cruise vacation for Feb. 2012, and we reserved a room large enough to include Logan too, just in case we have him home by then. I've been reading a blog lately, entitled two tots and a teen, and the family just adopted two more adorable little boys from China, ages 3.5 and 18 months. Yes, it made me wonder if we should adopt two more boys again. We have the room, and six is a nice even number. Three teens and three little ones...hmmm. I mentioned the idea to David, and he is thinking about it now too. Elizabeth Rose is in China right now, visiting two orphanages in the Shandong province, where Logan is currently residing. When Elizabeth Rose gets back, maybe she'll have new information about Logan, and maybe she will send us more videos of little boys!

Friday, April 8, 2011

USCIS fingerprints



Well, we finally received the USCIS letter notifying us of our "appointment" to get our biometrics (yes, fingerprints again!) complete at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Buffalo. Wouldn't you know it, the appointment is for when we are on vacation so we have to reschedule. I called the number on the notice to try to reschedule, but I was told I had to return the official Notice of Action with the box checked "Request for Rescheduling." I asked the woman if she could check to see when the next appointment is, so that I can mark it on the calendar, and she said no. We can only ask for a reschedule one time, and we MUST go to that appointment or we'll be denied the next time. Uh oh. We can only hope that the next appointment date that they send us works ok with our calendar. If not, we'll have to move mountains to make the appointment anyway. On another note, the same day that we received the notice for our fingerprint appointment, we also received the form to apply for John and Ben's birth-certificate. Just over a year after our adoption was finalized, I am able to complete the very last form to prove that they are our sons. The birth-certificate will show me as Mother and David as Father!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Contracts all signed


Last week we received the contracts from WACAP to sign. Essentially, we had to agree that we would not hold WACAP responsible if things did not go smoothly, and we had to sign that we read all the material that WACAP sent us about adoption. We had to sign six different forms and mail them back with our first agency payment. We will pay three different installments to WACAP for their adoption services, in addition to the home-study fee and all the fees to the government. I wish adoption was more affordable. I know several families who would adopt if it wasn't so complicated and expensive. On Wed. night I received a call from Elizabeth Rose telling me that we should be receiving another finger-print appointment soon. Yes, we already had our finger-prints taken for this adoption, and several times for adopting Ben and John, but they need to do them yet again. This time we will need to go to the immigration department in Buffalo. As soon as we get our finger-print appointment (and go to Buffalo) we can pursue our I-800A approval. Then the entire packet gets sent to China. Hopefully, they will still let us use our dossier from last year and we won't have to re-do that big mountain of paperwork!!! That will save us months and months, and quite a bit of money too. I read today online that China is making the post-placement and pre-placement requirements more arduous. We will have to have six post-placement visits from the social worker (instead of two) and provide letters from Logan's teachers saying that we are good parents. The social worker will even have to visit us two and five years after the adoption!! Yikes! What a whole lot of effort we adoptive parents put forth. It's worth it though. Look at how well John and Ben are doing!

Friday, March 11, 2011

I-800A


I received a call yesterday from Elizabeth Rose. She is now in charge of our paperwork, now that our home-study is complete. Elizabeth Rose called to say that we are officially accepted into the China program! Elizabeth also needed us to fill out another form, send her copies of our tax returns from the last two years, along with a check for $890 made out to the USICS. Our I-800A form, the check and our home-study needs to be sent to the US. Department of Homeland Security. It took me awhile to realize that the USICS and the Dept. of Homeland Security are one and the same thing. I don't know what the acronym USICS actually stands for, but I now understand that the Department of Homeland Security is where the I-800A and I-800 are processed. The I-800A is the Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. The I-800 is Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative.