Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Dossier

13 documents that tell the story of our life on paper.

Birth certificates, marriage certificates, financial statements, employer verifications, physician's statements, home study, immigration approval.....

All these documents are supposed to tell authorities in China who we are and why we want to adopt a little girl from their country.

HA! This is something that cannot be described 100 documents, let alone 13.

13 documents that took us almost 5 months to gather, culminating with the I-797 - approval from the US government to allow us to bring a child into this country.

All must be notarized. All must be certified by the Secretary of State. All must receive that, oh so important, Chinese Consulate sticker of authentication.

I just can't adequately describe the amount of paperwork it took to gather all of this. In order to reduce our carbon footprint, we will have to plant a few trees in Grace's name when she is home.

You all can read here, how scared I was when we started this paperchase. I REALLY thought I might not be up for the task.


Here it is.... our dossier.

Our 13 magnificent, lovely, don't you just want to gaze at their beauty, documents.

As if gathering these documents wasn't hard enough. We also had to send three pictures of S and I alone. OK. We managed that alright. But we also had to find EIGHT pictures of S and I together in a picture with other people. We BOTH had to be the pictures.

I TAKE the pictures. I'm not IN the pictures! This was a bit more tricky.

So, there it is. Our family story (until now) wrapped up in 13 documents and 8 pictures.

What's the dossier missing?

It doesn't seem to convey the love that we feel for our daughter who is strangely missing from these pictures. How I wish there was a way.

New York Consulate

Yeah, I know I brag about my husband a lot on this blog. But, I simply MUST once more.

I've done most of the paperchasing thus far. It's a labor of love really.

And, honestly, if S said he would do it all, I wouldn't let him. Because, well...

I'm sort of a control freak.

BUT, we had to make (what we thought) were two trips to NYC in a matter of three days. I knew I must share this responsibility. It was simply too much for one person.

I over-instructed my husband with maps, questions, extra copies of everything. It's a wonder he didn't kill me. He left at 6 am on Friday morning to begin the trek to the NY Chinese Consulate. 8:15 express train to Grand Central, 9 long blocks of walking and he made it at about 10 am. That's four hours of commuting.

The great news was that they said they would process the document the SAME DAY. We were going to have our FINAL document fully authenticated in our (his) hands at 2pm!!!

When he got it, I told him to guard it with his life. And he did. Can you EVEN IMAGINE if something happened to that document on his way home. Oh my.

3:00 express train home. And then an almost 3 hour car ride. Friday evening drive on I-95. Ouch. He arrived home at 7 pm.

It was a 13 hour day.

But, at the end of it, he had in his hand a white envelope with our I-797 fully authenticated. Here it is... it's just a sticker believe it or not that is stuck on the back of one of the pages of the document.

Some may wonder "what's the big deal?" But to get here... oh.... you have no idea.

I'm so happy that he got to do this. I just love that I have in my memory the thought of my dear husband on this most important mission through the streets of NYC... all for his daughter half a world away.

He didn't complain of course. He never complains.

And the truth is... he wouldn't have had it any other way.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Well, I really didn't think I would get through all this paperwork without messing something up. But, it's fixable... so it's all good.

I somehow missed our agency's announcement that the NY Chinese Consulate is no longer accepting documents via USPS. I don't know HOW?!?! I am literally on their website every day, sometimes more than once a day.

So, after receiving our I-797, we promptly had it notarized, certified by the Secretary of State (who turned it around in just TWO hours) and then I sent it the NY Chinese Consulate via USPS.


The next day I realized my mistake. At some point we'll get the document back with a note saying that they know longer accept documents delivered by USPS. But, it will probably be a month before we get it. So, our agency has suggested just starting the process over and then hand-delivering it down to the Consulate.

Tomorrow I am getting it notarized AGAIN, and then dropping it off at the Secretary of State for certification AGAIN. And then... S will drive the documents down to NYC to hand-deliver the document. Unfortunately, they also no longer process documents same-day. So, I'll have to go back to NYC next week to pick it up.

I guess this is just God's way of slowing us down a little. I'm pretty OK with that. Things ARE moving fast. Very fast. Last week I was panicked about how fast. This week... I'm a little bit more at peace. Thank You God for answering prayers.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Countdown - July Update

CCAI reports 36 matches for the month of July.

Here are the facts... I'll let you interpret.

There were approximately 250 families ahead of us at the end of March.

They have matched 160 children with their forever families since April.

In. Just. Five. Months.

Being "logged-in" is a big deal in the China adoption world. Basically, you generally aren't matched until you are logged-in because of rules established by China. Right now, CCAI is reporting that once families are logged-in, there are some families that are being matched right away.

If all goes smoothly, we will probably be logged-in in a couple weeks.

Now, go and read my last post about "Why all this fundraising?" :-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why all this fundraising?

I don’t know for sure but I’m guessing people are thinking... “Geez, they wanted to adopt, but yet can’t afford the adoption?”

It’s a fair question… so I’d thought I’d try to answer.

So, yes… God has set it on our hearts to adopt a beautiful little girl from China. We don’t know her yet, but we dream of her every second of every day. We just know this is the plan for our family.

But, not too many people have the money sitting in their savings account to cover the cost of adoption. It’s quite expensive.

Many people ask me… "Why does it cost so much?" Honestly, it just adds up. You are paying for many services. The adoption agency is a service that makes sure you have the mounds and mounds of paperwork just perfect for it’s travel to China, they are the ones that match us with our child, they arrange travel and schedule all the government appointments in China, they have staff in China to help us while we are there. We pay the Chinese government fees for all the paperwork they must process. We pay the US government fees for immigration processing. Plane tickets to (and in) China, 14, 16 or 18 (?) days of travel in China. And the list goes on and on.

But, that still doesn’t answer the question does it?

I often post updates on here trying to answer the “how long until you go to China?” question.

If you haven’t been following… We were first expecting that it would most likely be 18 to 24 months before we would be matched with our little girl and travel to China. Of course, we knew these were just estimates, and things might change one way or another. And change they have!

Our Grace will probably be home with us MUCH SOONER than any of us expected. Maybe even a YEAR sooner! That’s great news! Grace will be out of the orphanage, into our loving arms and she will have a family, our family. We just can’t wait!

The challenge... this good news leaves a LOT less time to save all the money we need. We are putting our faith in God that He will provide all we need to bring our Grace home.

One of the ways He is providing for us is by giving me the courage to ask others for help.

Truth is… I HATE fundraising. I don’t even like it when B has to sell popcorn for cub scouts. Usually, I just write a check for $50 and eat a lot of popcorn. But, I know, in this case, that I must swallow my pride, and ask.

So, in addition to scrimping and saving every penny we can, we are dollar by dollar fundraising our way to Grace.

Please see this post about the latest fundraiser that Hip Mom Jewelry is helping us with. This is a great opportunity to Christmas shop early for the women in your life AND help bring our Grace home.

Awesome t-shirts, lovingly designed by two of my very good friends, will be coming soon!

And S and the kids have been working on a little something as well to bring their sister (daughter) home. More info coming soon!

I hope this helps people understand. And I hope everyone knows that we are SO grateful for every person, every family, every friend that helps along on this journey.

Thank you.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Simply Beautiful!

OK Friends... Time to go do some shopping!

Do you have a Mom that you would love to buy a BEAUTIFUL gift for? Maybe Christmas, B'day or Mother's Day? (I know it's a long way away... but it's good to think ahead)

Or maybe for something for yourself? Or a friend? Ask your husband, you know he would love to buy you something special!

Ann, at Hip Mom Jewelry has created some beautiful designs for us to use as an adoption fundraiser. We are so blessed because she has picked us to be one of the first families to participate in this fundraiser. For any item purchased on this page, she is donating 30% of the purchase price to us for our adoption.

There is something for everyone...

Some adoption related...

Hope for China
I Searched the Whole World For You
Others not adoption related...


Simply Blessed

Faith, Hope, Love

There's more HERE. Check it out!!


Enter our family code when you checkout, it is MIGNAUG10. This way Ann knows which family to donate the 30% to.

So, please go do some shopping!!! Perhaps you wouldn't mind forwarding this blog post along to your friends to help the cause?!

Thank you so much everyone for helping bring our little girl home!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Big Mail Day

On the same day we got our I-797, we also received the letter that our Miss K has been waiting all summer for.

The letter that tells our almost Kindergartner who her teacher will be this year.

With your first child, you don’t know the teachers in the school so when you find out the teacher for the next year you sort of just shrug your shoulders and say “OK. Hope he/she is good?!” But, now… we are experienced. And K knew, for sure, that she wanted one particular teacher, “Mrs. Sweet”.

But, perhaps more importantly… she hoped that she would be in the same class with her BFF.

Her BFF called her earlier in the day, announcing that she had received her letter and she got the beloved teacher that K wanted.

Our mail had yet to arrive.

When the mail truck pulled up, I had to sit down with K and have a little pep talk.

I said to her “No matter what…You WILL have a great year this year. You will have fun. You will make new friends. You will learn SO much. And you will love Kindergarten”.

And she will. Because, no matter how much this Momma tries to deny it… she is SO ready to go school.

Well, look out “Mrs. Sweet” … you got K
and her BFF.

K and BFF had four phone conversations after the letter arrived. They were the funniest conversations I have ever heard. They were trying to figure out who else had Mrs. Sweet. For some reason, they were very consumed with trying to find out if this one particular little boy would be in their class with them. (Reminder: they are five years old)

Heaven Help Us.

So the mail was heavy with important things on August 5th. But the funny thing is... we were so distracted with the big kindergarten letter coming that the other mail got tossed aside and never looked at.

The "junk" mail sat there on our kitchen counter for 24 hours before anyone picked it up again.

The next afternoon, S picks up the mail and starts sorting through the "junk".

And there it was...

US Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

Our one last document for our dossier, the I-797, was sitting on our kitchen counter, neglected, for 24 hours before we even opened it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thank you USCIS!!!!!

I-797 ARRIVED!!!!

Just 42 days from the day we mailed our application!

Can you see it?

Read closely...

"You have been approved to adopt one child from the following Convention Country: China"

This is the last document we needed for our dossier. Once this gets notarized, certified (by the Secretary of State) and authenticated (by the Chinese Consulate), our 13 dossier documents will be ready to be translated and sent to China! Maybe, just maybe, with some luck... it will be in China by September!


Monday, August 2, 2010

K and her Daddy

Leaving on a Daddy-Daughter date.

K spent a good 10 minutes in her room preparing for the special occasion - brushing her hair, changing her head-band to match, changing her earrings and putting on her special heart necklace.

Nothing like father-daughter love.