"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,regardless of time, place, or circumstance.The thread may stretch or tangle,but it will never break."

- an ancient Chinese belief

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

Emily is still too young to really get into the activities of our churchs Fall Festival, but who could resist dressing her up anyway. Hope all of our friends and travel companions are having fun during the holidays with their precious family additions!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Emily!!!

Today was Emily's first Birthday!! We are so happy that we were able to celebrate it with her. She had a very full day. We started out at church this morning and then had a "Happy Birthday/Welcome Home" celebration this afternoon. We've had her for about 5 weeks now but it seems like we've always had her. She enjoyed her party even though she wasn't sure about the cake. All in all it was a great day for us and her.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Recovering after a few days at home

We arrived home almost a week ago now and things are beginning to settle down and allow us to rest and recover from our journey. Emily is doing great. She actually slept all night last night in her crib. This was the first time we've been able to get her to do this since we got home. She has met many friends and family since landing here. We are so blessed to have her in our lives and we're still in awe at what transpired during the two weeks we were in her homeland China. Our plans were to post here about the trip, but China blocks most blog sites so it was just too difficult to try and upload photos. We were able to use our other site to keep everyone informed and show them all the sites we were experiencing. It was a once in a lifetime trip and we will never forget it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Travel Plans

Here is our schedule for the trip. Can't believe its finally here.

Day 1-Depart for Beijing
Day 2-Arrive Beijing
Day 3-Tour of Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and Summer Palace
Day 4-Church Service and a vist to the Great Wall
Day 5-Forever Family Day
Day 6-Civil Affairs Appointment
Day 7 & 8 - Sightseeing
Day 9-Travel to Guangzhou
Day 10- Emily's Medical Exam
Day 11-Consulate Paperwork
Day 12-Consulate Appointment
Day 13-Oath Taking Ceremony
Day 14-Get Emily's Visa
Day 15-Travel to Hong Kong
Day 16-Arrive Back Home

Friday, August 27, 2010

Almost Packed! Ready to Go!!

Sherry has been working really hard for the last couple of weeks getting everything ready and packed into suitcases. Sounds easy, right? Well just try packing for 2 weeks in a foreign country, having no idea exactly how big your child is now, and trying to keep each bag under 44 lbs. It is not something you just do quickly. Hopefully we've gotten everything we need and aren't carrying a bunch of stuff we don't. The flights are going to be long, but will be just a memory when we finally hold Emily. We're going to try to update this blog while we're there, but if we can't then we'll use our other website that is linked to this page or have someone post for us.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TA's, Tickets, and Packing

Friday we were surprised by a phone call from our agency informing us that our travel authorizations had arrived. We really weren't expecting them until this week but are glad that they showed up earlier than expected. By yesterday we were told that we had Consulate appointments and would be traveling around the beginning of September. As of this evening we have airline ticket confirmations and have most of our packing done. Emily here we come!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Final Preparations and Waiting on a TA

Well, it has been 3 weeks since our call and introduction to Emily. Hard to believe that time has moved that quickly. Since then we've had a lot of paperwork to complete. We've sent off our Visa applications and hopefully our Letter of Acceptance is in the CCAA's hands in Beijing. There are also quite a number of documents we have to gather to take with us. Who said that the paperchase is over. We've sent Emily a care package thru a group called Red Thread China. Ann sent us a photo of what is going to the orpahanage. We hope to get some updated info and photos from them as well. We're hoping to find someone with a power adapter set that we can borrow. If not then we'll just have to add it to our list of items we need to get. We did get a car seat this past weekend and now have everything we need to bring her home.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Referral Plus A Week and a Half

Well it has been almost 2 weeks now since we got the exciting news. After the realization hit that this had really happened we had to get started getting things ready for our little girl. Sherry has been feverishly working on washing and arranging clothes, linens, and all the things that have collected during the wait. I've been working on paperwork related to our travel, working on the house, and helping her out wherever I can. Things are progressing each day. Now we're hoping to get some updated info and photos. Hang on Emily...we're coming!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Having a Place to Go is Home, Having Someone to Love is Family

The title says it all. We continue to let it sink in that we now have a face to connect to the name. Emily was loved even before she was born and we can't wait until she is finally home.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rumors are Out

All the Rumors today point toward a cut-off date of May 10, 2006 for this month's batch. That would definately put us in!! We're waiting on word now that the referrals have left China on their way to the various agencies worldwide. After that AWAA should call us with all the info on Emily. Come on Stork, Fly!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nothing Left to Do But Wait on The Call

We opened the mailbox today and found that our last paperwork hurdle had been cleared. Our updated I171-H had arrived so all we have to do now is wait on the call from our agency when referrals come out. We really didn't expect our application to be processed this quickly but I guess they were familiar enough with our file from the fingerprint update to go ahead and quickly issue another renewal. Thank You USCIS in Atlanta.

Monday, June 14, 2010

One Last Paperwork Hurdle

Timing seems to not be something that is working in our favor. Had we gotten a referral this month then our current I600A approval would have been sufficient to complete our adoption. Since we didn't, we have had to send in a renewal application and hope they allow us to get a grandfathered I600A renewal. The expiration date on on current approval would be so close that we can't risk it not being valid for our return. Hopefully it will be processed quickly and we can get it back close to our receiving Emily's referral.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June...A Busy Month

The end of May and early June are turning out to be quite busy around our house. We've been working on finishing up the staining of our stairs. Hoping to get all that out of the way before Emily comes home. We also managed to get in a vacation at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. It was a wonderful week full of fun and relaxation. We even made it to Charleston for a day. When we got home, our updated I-171H arrived in the mail. It was updated after our fingerprints were redone back in May. Unfortunately we're going to have to file the I-600A again and hope they allow us to get a grandfathered renewal for it. They are supposed to, but that process is never easy. We didn't make it into the June batch that the CCAA put out, but it appears we will be in the July batch unless something really unusual happens. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Final Fingerprinting...We Hope

We had to make another trip to the immigration processing center in Atlanta today to have our fingerprints taken again. They were due to expire June 6th. Hopefully this will be the last time we have to do this. The process itself isn't bad, but the drive is never fun. Stay tuned for any new updates.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Down to Single Digits

New referrals came out today and it appears that the CCAA matched families with LID's thru April 21st 2006. That takes 4 more days off our wait and brings us under 10 days left. There are 7 more days left in front of our login day. Our agency didn't get any referrals this month as their next group is on April 24th. They should be next and we have the possibility of being included but it all just depends on how many days the CCAA decides to process. We have to go to Atlanta on Wednesday to the USCIS processing center to have fingerprints done hopefully for the last time.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

LID Plus 4 Years

China Adoption Paperwork

Four years ago today our paperwork was officially logged in to the system in Beijing. At the time we never imagined that our wait would stretch out to where it is today. To say that it hasn't been easy would be like saying that the Great Wall of China is just a fence. We've definately been on this roller coaster they call international adoption and it looks like our car is almost to the top of the last hill. Even though we don't understand why it has taken so long, we know that right now in China there is a little dark haired girl that is meant to be matched to us. We can just imagine all the paperwork we took months to gather sitting on a shelf in the offices of the CCAA (Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs) waiting to soon be placed on the desk of the person who will match us with our Emily. Hopefully the next batch of referrals will come out next week and we will see if there is still a chance for a June referral. My advice is be sure your seatbelt is on tight and the lap bar is locked securely in place.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More than Half Way Thru April Now

Referrals came out yesterday and they made it thru 6 more days!! They are now complete thru April 17th which means there are only 11 days left in front of us. Hard to believe. We are now hoping for a summer referral. One of the local families in Chattanooga we know received their referral in this batch. They are now the proud parents of a beautiful 10 month old.

Monday, March 29, 2010

"On Deck!"

Today we participated in what our agency refers to as an "On Deck Referral Procedure" conference call. Basically they invited all those families who might receive their referral in the next few months to participate in a call that would explain the referral day procedure to us and allow us to ask any questions we might have. Not an earth shattering event, but after waiting for almost 4 years it was a huge sign that within months we'll be getting our first glimpses of Emily and finally learn about her history to this point. We are very exicted now and really energized again after so many months of limbo. Just please continue to remember us in your prayers as we wait out these final weeks and please remember Emily as we are all but certain that somewhere in China is a little dark haired girl waiting to be united with her forever family. We don't know where she might be at this moment or what her current living conditions are, but we just know that she is already loved and a part of this family.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More Progress

Well, we've taken a few more positive steps this week. Our homestudy update is complete so we're good on that for another year. Today we received our "on deck" email from our agency. They send this out when it starts getting close to time for a referral to let their families know what to expect. To us this was a very positive step and just really brought on that feeling that in just a few months we'll finally see Emily.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Busy But Productive Week

This has been a busy week for us. Mickey and Mindy both had surgery and we've spent a good bit of time getting ready for a home study update. Hopefully this will be the final time we have to go through this. All went well and once our social worker gets it written up, we should be good to go.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Good Referral Month

For once the rumors we heard were actually right. The CCAA matched thru April 11th LID's so that covered six more days. That will leave us 17 more to finish before they get to us. It is really beginning to get exciting again after such long periods of little to no movement. We have optimism that in just a few months we will finally see Emily's face for the first time.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Potentially Good News

We have heard rumor that the CCAA has mailed another batch of referrals that may start arriving in the U.S. tomorrow. The rumor has them completing thru April 11th or 12th. We hope this is true and a sign that we don't have much longer to wait.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mickey Gets A Little Sister

After being an only child for 3 years, Mickey finally has a little sister...but not from China. Mindy became a part of our family on January 16th. We saw her and it was love at first sight. Now we just have to wait a little while longer for Emily to finally be home.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

When this journey began back in 2005, we never imagined that our wait would be so long. Back then the wait was only about 6 months from completion of paperwork until you received a referral. After 5 years of waiting, we are beginning to see a faint light at the end of the tunnel. The CCAA has finally started processing files in our month. What is yet to be seen is how long it will take them to get through 25 more days worth of other families' paperwork so that it will be our turn. We just hope that 2010 will finally be the year we see Emily's face for the first time. Follow along with us as we wait out these finally days. (We can now truly say we know what it means to be on a slow boat to China)