Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Moving Right Along

Quick Update: We got a call from our agency yesterday saying that we should be getting the contracts and dossier instructions in the mail soon. I spoke to the Vietnam prog. coordinator, and she seems like she's going to be a very pleasant and helpful person to deal with.

Also, in today's mail, we received our notice from USCIS to go get fingerprinted. We'll get that done on Wed., July 11th. ...A couple more small steps towards making this adoption REAL- I'm excited!

On the home front: We are moving appliances into the new kitchen today! I'll post another picture of it sometime soon.

More later...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Check out Mrs. Broccoli Guy

One of the blogs I read from time to time is Mrs. Broccoli Guy. She has a post from yesterday titled "Accountability," regarding professing Christians becoming involved with unethical agencies, that I'd highly recommend reading, especially if you're a new PAP still searching for an agency. I think she hit it on the head. You can read it here. Also read her May 4 post titled "Babies as Income" with video. It will nauseate you, as it should. While you're clicking around, check out Voices for Vietnam Adoption Integrity, and

P.S. to blog lovers~ Mrs. Broccoli Guy also has what is probably THE most comprehensive Adoption Blogroll out there. I've linked to a few, but there's no sense reinventing the wheel. See hers here. Everything you ever wanted to know about adoptive families, and plenty of things you didn't!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Deep Thoughts?

I'm not one of those daily bloggers. I'm also not the type that can make the most mundane details of my life sound witty and fascinating. As I've already warned, I'm just not blessed with a talent for writing the way some bloggers are. I'm more of a "stick to the facts" kind of blogger. I think it's partly a self-image issue... I can't imagine anyone being interested in anything I would say, so I try to stick to pertinent information only. The problem is that by sticking only to the facts I'm making my blog entries BORING, which is what I'm worried about doing in the first place. As any other SAHM knows, our lives are far from boring, but also sometimes less than interesting at the same time (or at least we feel that way). We are constantly busy, but by the end of the day we feel we have very little of importance to discuss. Our lives revolve around the things most important to US- our families. Our conversations usually have less to do with what's going on in the West Bank and more to do with who stuck what up his nose and how we finally got it out. I'm certainly not complaining- I have an amazing DH, great kids... I love my life, and I wouldn't swap it for anything. I'm just saying... Deep thoughts and intellectual stimulation are certainly NOT going to come from any of these entries, unless it happens by accident!

On that note- Who wants to hear about our exciting remodeling project? That's what I thought. I'm going to tell you anyway. We now have cabinets and countertops in the new kitchen (big, big YEAH!).

Although it doesn't look like it in this photo, we are very close to being done. This is good for several reasons. One: I was about to the point of killing my poor husband. Two: Once the new kitchen is done, we can begin tearing out the old kitchen and turning it into a bedroom for Tucker and the new baby. Alex will finally have what is the Holy Grail to every teenager- his own room. Three: We'll also be adding a bathroom for the kids, which is long overdue, and more storage space (my eyes are welling up with tears of joy just typing the words "storage space"), which is even more overdue. I'm getting so excited. You have no idea how long this project has taken... NO IDEA, I tell ya. I'm married to a contractor (nuff said). I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that it's really going to get finished. Darrell is doing a beautiful job and the poor man is working himself to death, but it's better than the death I had planned for him if this project would have been dragged out much longer!

Monday, June 18, 2007

I600A on its way

Our I600A is going out in tomorrow's (Tues., 19th) mail. We'll post just as soon as we hear something. I'm curious to see how long it takes this time. It didn't take that long for our last adoption and we're sending it to the same place, so hopefully our wait will be a short one.

(A quick recap for those who don't know what on earth I'm talking about... The I600A form is a request to bring an orphan into the US for the purpose of adoption. This form is going to a USCIS district office, which is also where we'll go to get our prints done. After they get it, we wait for them to send us a notice to appear on a certain date to be fingerprinted. After that's done, we wait for them to issue the 171H- which is their approval for us to adopt. This process can take weeks or sometimes months.)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Feeling Icky...

I'm having one of those down days. No reason for it, I guess- not a good reason, anyway. I think I've just been placing so much importance on getting the homestudy finished- thinking that's the key to getting this show on the road. But, I know there's still so much waiting ahead of us. The homestudy is just one tiny step forward. If we're going to start applying for adoption loans, as DH is adamant about doing, then that's another holdup before proceeding with our agency and getting our dossier sent over. The 171H could be another significant wait, too. I know from experience that this feeling will pass, and tomorrow I'll get my 2nd (or 222nd is more like it) wind and feel ready to keep going. With our first adoption, as with this one, I waited for several years for D. to be ready to start. Then the actual adoption wait was 23 months from start to finish, so this isn't a new game for me. Our documents were in China for 13 of those months, before finally getting our referral- then another month of waiting to travel. So, what's wrong with me? I should be able to handle this like an old pro instead of a spoiled child, right? Uh-uh... I want my baby TODAY! Is that too much to ask?

On the bright side, the water levels here have gone down considerably. We've had a couple of much-needed dry days, in spite of forecasts calling for more storms (prayer WORKS!), which has made a huge difference. Thank God it didn't get as bad as it could have! I guess I need to transfer my faith for weather miracles over to the adoption area and quit my moping.

Before I shutup for the day, I want to wish the dads a Happy Father's Day! Hope you have a blessed weekend. We're taking D. to a baseball game tomorrow, and the kids have a few gifts to give him on Sunday (almost entirely football related, or course!). If your a waiting dad, may this be the last Father's Day you have to spend waiting for your little one!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Just waiting for the animals to show up, two by two...

No, this isn't adoption related, but it's certainly been the focus around here in recent days...
The rain here has been unbelievable, and it's supposed to continue through the next week. The water seems to be down a little bit today, so we're hoping it stays dry and continues to recede. Some of our friends and neighbors have had to temporarily move their stuff out of their homes. We're high enough that we should be fine. Here are pictures of the HS football field,

the soccer fields,

and the playground.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Homestudy Approved!!!

Just heard from WACAP and the SW- our homestudy looks good! Now our SW will type up the final draft, have it notarized, and we'll be approved into WACAP's Vietnam program. We'll also be able to send in our I600A. Yippee! One step closer- I'm so excited! Who wants to see my happy dance??

Still Nothing

A few of you have asked what we've heard about our homestudy... Nothing, really. I emailed the agency yesterday and was told that they received quite a few homestudies on the same day as ours, so that's going to slow it down a little. She also repeated that they will contact our SW if any changes are necessary. So, hopefully it won't be much longer, and we'll hear from one or both of them about it soon. I appreciate the interest, though. It's so nice to know people are thinking of us. I'm really hoping to get our I600A submitted before the big fee increase (which I believe is towards the end of July??), so keep us in your prayers that the homestudy will be approved soon. I have my I600 app. all filled out and ready to go, just waiting to have a homestudy to submit with it.

I'll let you know as soon as I hear something! You know, the "hard waiting" hasn't even started yet!!!

Also, are there any BTDT folks reading who have experience with applying for adoption loans and grants? From what we understand, we can start doing that once we have our homestudy- but we don't know much about it. We didn't do it last time. Leave a comment, or email me. Thanks!

I'll let you know as soon as I hear about our homestudy! Again, thanks for thinking of us.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Greetings PAPs, APs, and Other Acronyms...

It's funny... I started this blog to keep our friends and family updated on our adoption, BUT... the majority of our visitors are those from the adoption community- people we've never met, who found us through my link on an adoption group; People who have traveled, or are traveling the same road we're on (and some of our relatives still haven't been here yet!). Things don't always happen as we plan; sometimes it's better! I love having so many visitors- the more the merrier! I've already "met" some fellow WACAP pioneers, and I'm so glad to have found you. I hope to learn from you as you blaze the trail! I must say, I'm continually amazed by the amount of support, helpfulness, and strong sense of kinship that exists in the adoption community. It's great to have you here, I'm just not sure I can hold your interest- I'm not a writer!

I've had several people asking about our family and kids, soooo... For those of you who don't know us- We are Michelle and Darrell; 40 and 49 yrs. old. We live in the midwest and have been married 18 yrs. We have 6 kids, as well as Darrell's 3 adult children from his first marriage. Their ages are: 27, 25, 21, 17, 15, 13, 8, 7, and 6. We adopted our youngest from Hubei, China in '02. We are also a homeschool family (and yes, we are busy). We are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to bring home a precious baby boy from Vietnam. That's it in a nutshell, and probably more than anyone wanted to know!

We heard that our homestudy draft made it to the agency today- YEAH! Now, they're waiting for a few things from us that I put in the mail last week. When they have everything they need, they will review our homestudy and let us know if we're approved (I hope, hope, hope...). We'll let you know as soon as we hear something!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Latest Report: There's Nothing to Report...

As of today, I'm still waiting to hear from our social worker to find out if the rough draft of our homestudy has been turned in for WACAP to review. The last time I heard, it was going to be sent in at the end of last week, but I don't know if that happened. Until our agency approves our homestudy, we are not even technically considered part of their VN program yet. I've emailed the SW, but didn't hear from her today. Maybe tomorrow...

Once they approve the homestudy, we'll sign a contract and pay the first fee to WACAP. We can send off our I600A application to USCIS, and then I think I'll start feeling like we're getting somewhere. Right now, it just feels like we're in limbo.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Acrobats of China

Today is Children's Day in China. The Acrobats of China at the New Shanghai Theater, in Branson, MO, held a special event today for families with children adopted from China. It was a full day with the acrobats, beginning at 10 this moring and ending with a special performance by the acrobats until 5 this evening. The day was filled with play time at a local park and games with the acrobats, a Chinese lunch served at the theater, presentations by a local FCC chapter, and finally the acrobats show.

It was so good for Brianna to see so many Asian children all together in one place- something she hasn't seen before (not since she lived in China, anyway). I think she was a little overwhelmed by it all- in a good way. I kept watching her watch the other kids. She was really taking it all in! One highlight of her afternoon was getting to go up on stage and participate in a ribbon dance and a dragon dance.

My Daughter, The Ribbon "Dancer" (??)

One of the acrobats picked her up and held her for a group picture at the end of the afternoon and she was on cloud nine!

This was the first year for this event, and they said they want to do it every year. I would HIGHLY recommend going, if you're close enough. Even if you haven't adopted from China, go see their regular show, if you're able. The things they can do are just amazing! It really is a great show.