Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The calm before the storm...

So it is kind of quiet right now...no huge packages expected from fedex or a call from the agency. I know my LOA is safely back on it's way to China and with this week being some kind of national holiday they probably wont even open it until the next week. Two to three weeks from now I should be ramped up to crazy again because we are awaiting the Travel Authorization but for right now...for today... it is quiet. I have a list of documents that we have to travel with...some filled out and notorized, some we are not allowed to fill out until we get there. I am thinking about how stressful this is going to be...poor Molly basically being kidnapped by these funny smelling white people and thrown...okay, maybe thrown isnt the right word....taken to a hotel room with this weird thing called an air conditioner ( will be new to her) as well as a western style toilet. No before you go thinking that the toilets have cowboy boots and spurs, they dont. Most kids in China use the bathroom by squatting over a hole...so that funny white porcelian seat with the hole in it is going to something she hasnt seen before. Looks like we will have to show her what it is and how to use it...which will give her plenty to talk about with her therapist alone!

The bonding issue is a tough one. I have heard stories of miracle children who dont cry and are bonding with their mom and dad within hours...and then there are the kids who are angry and totally reject their new parents and wonder where their nannies/foster moms/ nurses are? We really have to be prepared for the latter. As much as I want to hope that she will "get it".... I dont think she will. I do hope that if she bonds with one of us initially that it is Rob though. The poor guy has lived for seven years with two boys who are clearly all about mom...so it would be nice if Molly would throw the guy a bone and just like him more! It is only a matter of time before I convince her that I am the one that controls the food and toys... so Im hoping for an easier transition for Rob than myself. But of course, if she instantly falls in love with both of us, I wont be complaining either.

We have finally wrapped up baseball season here and are just dealing with soccer that will run another month. Then it looks like we may have a break in the sports schedule unless I can convince either of my boys to play hockey...not likely...what is wrong with them?

There is still SOOOO much to do before we travel. I have started cleaning out every room, closet,and drawer in the house. This weekend we cleaned out the boys rooms, went through the closets and filled up the garage with stuff for the annual garage sale. Carpets should get cleaned sometime this week. Like you guys really needed to know when are carpets get cleaned. Looks like Im out of information to share... oh except for this picture. Today was polka dot day for jack and he is proudly showing off his polka dot shirt, shorts, and socks.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Finger printing...

Our finger prints expire on October 19, 2008 so Rob and I had to PLEEEAAAD with the INS to get us in as early as possible and they did! We have a finger print appointment this Saturday and they are going to waive the fees. So lets hear it for our federal government! I hope to have the updated INS paperwork that will allow us to bring her back into the country in the next few weeks and then we are in the clear. Today we are applying for visa's, getting extra passport photos taken, and gathering all the tons of paperwork we have to travel with together. Looking forward to hearing about the TA but think it will be a few weeks before we get anything back from that.

Moving right along....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Looking for some items..

Hello blog fans... I thought I would take this opportunity to put some feelers out for some furniture we are needing for the little princesses room! We have a bed frame and box springs but are in need of a twin mattress and a dresser. We are not asking for donations and will gladly pay for these...but I wanted to find out from anyone out there in our hometown area if they either had these items to sell or knew someone who did!


Friday, September 26, 2008

LOA and other stats...

Okay...so this is the single piece of paper that we have been waiting for...the LOA! I have deleted Molly's given name as an agreement I made with the adoption agency. But at the very bottom is where Rob and I signed and dated and then fedexed the page right back on the same day. It will arrive at the agency on Monday and in China by Wednesday.

So what is next? Well, what is next that within 1 to 3.5 weeks we will get the Travel Authorization. Once that comes from China to the agency, they will call us and we will talk about travel dates and request a few dates from the CCAA. This occurs over fax or email. Once the CCAA agrees to the next available possible date, the agency calls and we book our travel. Once we get our TA, we can be gone in 3 days or 3 weeks..that's about the average.

So what does all this mean? That we are looking at about 6 -8 weeks until we end up in China.
I should be receiving our addendum to the Home Study this week and our fingerprint appt.

Oh...and I just had to post this...this is a picture that our 7 year old drew of our family. You can see his mom and dad and little brother. When I asked him about the red line, he said that "is a rope that I am using to pull Molly home". What a sweet boy!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Info on the LOA.

Hello blog fans..just a little more information on what the LOA means for us in terms of travel. The LOA stands for Letter of Acceptance and it is basically a colored piece of paper that is sent from China to the Adoption Agency and is fedexed to us for both Rob and I to sign stating that we agree to take Molly. We will get this tomorrow morning, sign it, and fedex it back to the agency on the same day! It should arrive in PA on Monday and be back in China by Wednesday. From that date - October 1, 2008 - the clock starts over again. We can expect to get the Travel Authorization anywhere from one week ( the fastest) to 3.5 weeks ( the slowest). Once we receive the TA, the adoption agency emails CCAA ( China) and requests the soonest possible date for a Consulate Appointment. Once that date is approved, we get a phone call with our travel dates. The CA is the last thing we do so basically the travel date will occur a week and a half prior to the CA date. There have been families that will get a phone call on a Monday and leave that Thursday? It can happen..so at this point we really need to be ready for anything. It could be 4 weeks, 6 weeks or 8 weeks. Guess it is time to get that bed setup!

Thanks for all the support and generous donation of the Delta Sky miles Kari!!! As long as the dates work out, Mary will be able to travel with us to get Molly!

We have the LOA!

Finally, at 10:08am my phone rings with that familiar Philadelphia suberb number and we were told we have the LOA! Ashley will fedex it to us and we will get it tomorrow, sign it, fedex it back to the agency, who will then turn around and fedex it back to China. So basically by next wednesday we are looking at the LOA being in China. The CCAA will then issue the TA within 1 to 4 weeks and once they issue the TA the agency gets our consulate appointment and we are on an airplane.

This is huge! This means that China is agreeing that Molly is ours...and we get to come bring her home.


One crisis diverted

Last night we had the meeting with the social worker who interestingly enough asked us what strengths we had that would allow us to raise this special needs child. I wanted to say the same strengths that allow us to raise the two kids we have and the same strengths you found in us over the last three years that convinced you to approve us for the 0-15 month baby. I didn't though. I knew the interview was going to be on a slightly negative slant as that has been the attitude of this social worker from the beginning about adopting an older child or a child with special needs. She kept reminding us how hard our lives were going to be? No kidding...because the two boys we have just make everything easier. Not to be overly sarcastic here...but I was a little offended at the assumption that Rob and I were not intelligent enough to consider how incredibly difficult this journey is going to be. Since when has that stopped me from doing anything I want to do? I tried to explain that most anything worth doing is usually hard and that the blessing that this child will bring us and the boys FAR outweighs any inconvenience to our heavily scheduled lives. There is no greater gift we can give our boys than to teach them tolerance, patience, and the appreciation of diversity. Not just teach it, but live it. It is our hope to do this while at the same time bring a little girl to the states without a future and allow her to have one...regardless of what she wants it to be. I would love if her future included skates and a hockey stick.....but that is just the competitive mom in me talking!

On a positive note the social worker was nice enough to get out to our house two days before our scheduled appointment and write the addendum in one day to get it to Montgomery who will in turn, get it to Atlanta for processing. I think Atlanta will have it in their hands by the middle or end of next week and hopefully they will know that we need some quick processing. So all that is left is to get to Birmingham for fingerprints which is not a big deal as there isn't anything required for them to do in order to book our travel and so we should be set. What is the rush? Well, the rush is this...if we get to leave for China and get Molly prior to the middle of November, my sister Mary gets to be there. I dont know how often any of you have flown half way around the world and then accepted a child in the middle of a crowded busy room full of anxious parents and overwhelmed babies...but I am going to assume that this is going to be a pretty amazing experience...so of course I want my sister there with me.

The LOA. I'm not talking about the LOA. Im not even going to mention that the LONGEST that the LOA has taken any family from our adoption agency has been 3.5 weeks and that the 3.5 week mark is tomorrow. As much as I love to set a record, this isnt one of those times. So....I will not be writing anything about the LOA coming today. Not even going to mention it.

Tonight is our fourth sign language class and we, as a class, are starting to get a little overwhelmed. The instructor has been forced to slow down a little....Im thinking we are not her brightest group?

Well, off to make the doughnuts. Had a great time last night playing hockey against a group of guys that included my husband. I only took the puck from him twice! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A little good news....

It's not the LOA...but a little good news. I spent the day writing up a three page document outlining the people we have spoken too...experts in audiology, speech therapy, deaf education, the school system, plans for travel, etc to the social worker that we are supposed to see on Friday in one more desperate attempt to get her to write this letter sooner and while she still insists on meeting with us, she has agreed to meet with us at our house tomrrow night instead of Friday and will fed ex the letter to the INS the following day. So...that should buy us at least a week!

Hope to get our fingerprint appt date by early next week and LOA by the end of this week.

I guess it is true about the squeaky wheel....

Three Weeks and Counting...

Well, I really didnt think we would get to the three week mark...but we are just forced to roll with it. They said the longest time between PA and LOA is 3.5 weeks and that once the TA hits withen 1 to 4 weeks they have seen families leave in 3 days...as soon as 3 days. They just have to stick you in the soonest possible CA date they get.

Of course the hold up...the only potential hold up in all of this is the home study addendum from our social worker. If that isn't in the system as fast as it needs to be and processed by the INS because we sat here waiting for a few weeks to get into to talk to the social worker, it has the potential to majorly delay us. Not thrilled with the potential for that either.

Talked to an incredible CI Therapist today who gave me a ton of information on using CI vs. signing vs. hearing aids...and how to approach each one. Pro's, Con's, things to consider for each.
Looks like our journey once we get back to Huntsville will actually begin in Birmingham at the Children's Hear Center. As soon as possible we will get a full work up to include an ABR, OAE, Pure Tone Testing and CT Scan. Once we have those results we will really begin to have an idea of where she stands and be able to consider our options.

On a less scientific note, we have sent Molly and her foster mom a care package. This will include a doll ( ironically the doll is very American looking...I have been buying Asian looking dolls for the past three years), a blanket, a photo album of the people she will see either in China when we pick her up or immediatley upon getting home, a letter to the foster mother with a locket that has a picture of Molly in it, several disposible cameras so that they can take TONS of pictures of Molly for her to have once she is older and so that we can get a look at how she has been living from day to day, and a self addressed stamped envelope for Molly's foster mom to contact us. ( I really hope she decides too!).

If Molly is anything like me, she will immediately throw the doll away and disassemble the camera to see how to make it do something completely different like make french fries.

Crossing our fingers for a phone call today from the agency! Trying to stay positive!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Waiting Game...

This weekend was a much needed distraction from this whole waiting game..at least it was for me. I spent the weekend at an ice rink in Columbus Ohio playing hockey with 5 other teams from the area in a tournament to raise money for the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Association. We had a great time and our team took second place. Im convinced we would have taken the first place trophy home but lost to a team with "fresh legs" who didnt play the night day before. At least thats my story and Im sticking to it. Since my friend Jaci has informed me that she hasnt been reading my blog, I feel compelled to post this picture of her relaxing in between games. In the back is Sarah Miller ( one of our star forwards) and her husband/ our coach - Steve Miller. More pictures coming soon!

On the adoption front we are waiting for a couple of things. First the LOA..everyone knows what this is now and I was really hoping to have it by now...come on China! Whats the deal? Secondly, we are waiting for appointment dates for our last set of fingerprints that we need. Come on INS!
And then thirdly, the appoinment with our social worker so that she can sleep at night knowing she didnt approve the placement of Molly to a couple who isnt prepared to care for her. You never can be too sure..she has only known us three years.

Two of my online adoption friends got their LOA today which is great news...but Im not going to lie and tell you that I am not wondering where my phone call is? So...where is my phone call?

Any day now...come on!

Friday, September 19, 2008

It takes a village....or in our case...

A group of AWESOME 6th grade drama students from my sisters class. My sister has informed me about their excitement over our little girl and so she sent me these pictures. Aren't they great!!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sky Miles

This is a shameless plug for donated sky miles. We are trying to get my sister a ticket to China so she can witness this truly awesome event of bringing this child into our home...so if anyone has any random sky miles just laying around or about to expire - we will send you a lovely fruit basket if you want to give them up!

Ugh! I hate RED TAPE!

First the latest addition to the Molly Photo Album. The Barrie's in Montana.

On a more frustrating note, turns out we have to meet with the social worker and cant handle the conversation over the phone? Truly Bizarre ...so instead of scheduling a phone call over the next few days, we are having to meet at the office. I guess a 7 hour interview over the course of three years just isnt enough to say you know somebody. Very frustrating. But we have no other choice than to just get it over with. So...onward and upward.
Hoping for the LOA today!

We've hit a few hurdles....

Nothing mind blowing...but annoying. Turns out our home study was just for a non special needs child under 15 months old soooooo we have to have a letter written and sent to INS from our social worker that will allow us to bring Molly into the country. Many social workers will conduct a phone interview and then send in the letter...obviously time is an issue so we are hoping ours will do the same. The second hurdle...looks like Rob and I will have to make a third trip to Birmingham to get finger printed for the THIRD time. As you all know fingerprints change ALL THE TIME....so they are constantly being updated...turns out ours expire on October 19..yes...on that date....our fingerprints have to be updated. It isnt even borderline ridiculous..but they have us in a corner so we have no other choice than to drive two hours for what takes about 10 minutes and then drive back.

We did find out that there is an organization that wanted to operate on Molly and give her the implants. I found out that this made her foster mother very nervous as well as the other workers in the orphanage. Well, when we found out we made a few phone calls and they allowed us to stop any more talk of surgeries. I dont know why anyone would want to operate on a little girl just months from being adopted. CI surgery and the therapy that follows is rather intense and why they would want to do this when she is getting ready to leave the country is beyond me? Fortunately, they allowed us our first rights as parents and respected our decision to hold off on the surgery. They did give her hearing aids though...so maybe she is hearing something?

On a side note we were told that she is absolutely adorable and the women in the orphanage love her. She is a happy little girl and gets along well with the other kids...all good news.

I stand by my earliest post. We got the best one. Not a doubt in my mind.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My sister - the over achiever!

So - I basically call my sister and ask her to have the family take pictures of themselves holding Molly's picture for the photo album we are going to send Molly. But Noooooooo..that isnt good enough...no way...they have to take it a step further and MAKE TSHIRTS! Thats it - Im going to cut up all my old credit cards - buy some spackle and create a sculpture in her likeness with the plastic fragments and then put THAT on a tshirt!

Bob Mackie would be so proud...

So we didn't get the LOA today...total buzz kill. However, I did make great progress on the organization of the clothes that we have. What some of you may not realize is that over the course of the past three years we have received an unbelievable amount of beautiful clothes from friends and neighbors. So today I went through all of it and pulled out what we believe Molly will be able to wear. What I found was that we probably have more clothes for Molly than I do for both the boys put together. You can see from the pictures that we have two big bins of clothes and a closet full as well. So thanks to all of you that were kind enough to donate these clothes for Molly. Dressing well is not going to be an issue for her and you have just saved her from spending the next few years in sweats and football jerseys.

Sending it out to the universe.....

Come on LOA! Lets get it done today...oh.....that rhymed....I deeply apologize. That is terrible. Moving on. Darla and I are sending out good vibes to the universe for the Letter of Approval!!!
Come on!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Almost Two Weeks...

It will be two weeks officially on the clock waiting for the LOA. Im hoping it comes this week! The longest people have had to wait is 3.5 so of course Im trying to beat it. We found out that an organization has offered some kind of either surgery or hearing aids for Molly and we, as the parents, respectfully declined any attempts to operate at this point. We are much more comfortable getting her home and evaluated and making that decision ourselves. I was hoping to get an accelerated LOA but it isnt going to pan out for us...not that I dont need the time to get ready. The gutting of the house has begun officially. So far I have only conquered the toy room and the hutch in the dining room. It may sound like a lot, but based on what is left...it would be similar to throwing a deck chair off the Queen Mary in an attempt to lower the ships overall weight.

Hoping for a free extenstion on our fingerprints which will save us from a third trip to Birminham.

Looking to get some different photos from the orphanage... hopefully tomorrow. We are sending in a care package with some toys, blanket, cameras, photo album soon.

Hang on girl! We are coming!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Building an Album...

We are sending Molly a care package. Part of me feels like I should send her a nail file so she can "break out" of there...but then I realize that she doesnt even know she wants to break out so that probably isnt a good idea. Then I start thinking about how short the time is and that I have so much to do. I made a MASSIVE list.....kind of like the list on My Name Is Earl...but it has to do with making the rooms, closets and drawers forgive me for ignoring them for so long...and not people. ( If you dont watch this show, it is hilarious...). I got to mark one room off my list...and frankly based on the organization of my house I could really use 8 to 10 weeks to get everything where it should be. The other side of me wants to put my shoes on right now, not even change out of my pajamas and fly over and bring this girl home. We will deal with the cleaning later! ( By the way, that attitude on cleaning is what got me in this mess).

So now it is time to figure out what clothes she can actually wear. I have lots of clothes for an infant and up...but if she is really 30 lbs we are looking at 2T-3T. But is she really that weight really accurate? I have read on several peoples blogs that when they picked up their child, they were not as big as they were told...but if figuring out if I need to keep my 18month clothing is my biggest problem, than we are doing okay.

I think R. and I have decided to do the optional tour in Beijing. Im sure they wouldnt mind if I took a swim at the water cube.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What A week...

So it has been a good week for information! We found out that Molly has a fostermom that she is attached too...that she has SOME hearing...that an organization has purchased hearing aids for her and we got some great pictures. On a sad note, my sister and her family had to say goodbye to their puppy of fourteen years. It was a tough day for their entire family...I cant even imagine our home without our dog Maggie and we have only had her for a few years.

Looking for that LOA! Come on LOA! We have a lot of work to do on the bedroom..a lot of cleaning out to do...we will start that this weekend. We had a great sign language class and learned A LOT of words... I think about 75 or so. The numbers are going to be the slowest things to sign for me. I think I will just skip learning how to sign numbers and instead learn the signs for A LOT or A LITTLE. Exact numbers in language is overrated, dont you think?

Updated Photo's!!!

These were taken just a few days ago!

What's In A Name?

So we have always had a pretty good idea what we were going to name this little girl as a first name. Obviously, MOLLY. But the middle name has been a three year mystery. We considered another American sounding name, perhaps a family name..but now that we know her Chinese name want to keep a part of her heritage in her name. Many, if not most of the adoptive families we have met give their girls a Chinese middle name. Not being all that especially fond of Molly's middle name, we investigated other possibilities...but we think that it is perhaps more important to keep that part of Mollys name - even though we are not that thrilled with it and the word is actually translated as Bamboo. ( Sorry...Im prohibited from posting her real name on a blog!)

Anyway, so thats where we are leaning on the middle name. WE are also checking out the possibility of keeping in close contact with her foster mother. Some provinces allow this type of ongoing communication - some wont even allow us to meet them. We would love for this little girl to continue to have a relationship with her foster mother so that she knows she was always loved...loved in China...loved in the States.

Sent a letter to the foster mother in hopes to help ease whatever heartache she is feeling...ease...not erase...how could a letter do that. We will be sending a care package to both the foster mother and Molly...some candy, a few disposable cameras, a new toy, a blanket and something nice for the foster mother. The favorite items to receive are scarf’s and face care products? Neither of these items are something I have the foggiest idea how to buy. I could send her a red bandana that I wear under my hockey helmet and my idea of face care is a bottle of Neutrogena face soap. ( Don’t judge, it is 8.00!)

Waiting on pictures, waiting on pictures, waiting on pictures. We will also include both for Molly and her foster mother a photo album of the family with our name, Mommy, Daddy, R., and J. all labeled properly. We want to include a picture of Molly in the album...but need a decent picture.

The Whitney Gang is headed off to China today to pick up their baby. It will be interesting to hear how it goes as we are both from the same agency and will have similar trips.

Okay..Im done rambling. Hope to post some pictures soon!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Holy Distractions Bat Man!

I just "blanked out" and took hair gel and rubbed it all over my face like face lotion. There it is. I have officially left the reservation.

I've climbed down off the roof...

yes, Im calm again...for the most part. After some long conversations with people who have done this before and people who are good friends I no longer feel like the other woman. From the update we got yesterday, it was reported that Molly was at a 50-60db hearing range. I dont think this is accurate. I think she is probably at perhaps 50-60% but there is really no way of knowing until we get her home and checked out.

We are awaiting updated photos...( I HOPE WE GET THEM TODAY) in order to put together a photo album for her and one for her foster mother to keep. We will send the photos to the same organization that made the phone call for us and they will put the pictures in a little album and label the pictures so that Molly can start getting accustomed to what we look like. What I was hoping to do is take a picture of all the family members holding an 8x10 picture of Molly so that she can start making a connection...not just think we are sending her a photo album with funny looking white people. Hopefully she will see us holding HER picture and figure out that something is up!

Also noted in her report is that the orphanage got her a hearing aid...I was told to expect this to be 1960's technology and probably not calibrated well. We will most likely be leaving it behind. They make us leave their clothes behind, I cant imagine them letting us run off with a hearing aid. I also found out that based on the report that she was going to attend Deaf Childrens Language school...that she was most likely going to be living in a group setting anyway. There dont seem to be any deaf schools in the area where she lives so they would have to send her to the school where she would live. I just hope that rumor is true and that we can get to her before they send her anywhere.

Many of the agencies try to prepare the child by taking them out of the home a few nights prior to the hand off...that way the foster mother and new mother are not face to face when the child is transferred. This entire "transfer" of the child resembles an combination of weeining a puppy from its mother and a high money arms deal...if you can combine such a thing.

I was told to expect that she wouldnt like us very much in the beginning..thats going to be new territory for me. Most of the time people have to get to know me before they realize they dont like me...but we know that with time she will learn to like us...and hopefully trust us. Trust is going to be tough thing..I imagine it will take at least a year or more before she realizes that she isnt going anywhere.

Hopefully we will be getting some pictures really soon! Stay posted!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's Official - Im the "other woman".

We have an update from a contact in China. This is what the foster mom told us about Molly:

Molly is about 2'9" and weighs about 30 lbs. She doesn’t know any sign language yet. She communicates with other people with some simple signs. She estimates “yes” and “no” with watch people’s mouth when they are talking. Her hearing is about 50-60 db. She responds to loud noise. We have just given her a hearing aid, later we are going to send her to deaf childrens language training school. Her foster mom personality is very extroverted; there are no other children at home. So she is a happy child, too. She always has a ready smile. She sleeps with her foster mom and is very attached to her foster mom. They are going to send me some pictures that I will post when I get them.

So the good news is that she has formed an attachment to someone and is obviously well loved. Makes a mom feel better going to sleep at night...on the other hand, I cant help but feel a little worried about being the bad mean American who is going to rip this poor girl from her loving foster mothers arms and kidnap her to America. This must be what it feels like to be "the other woman". Im the hot new 20 year old and that poor foster mom is the loving wife. I feel like a monster now.

Im a little nauseous. Poor kid...has no idea what is about to happen to her.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Crib, Toddler Bed, or Twin Bed

So I have just this second decided that this weekend would be an excellent time to start prepping the room. Time to pick where she will be sleeping and Im thinking the best solution would be a twin bed as that will allow plenty of room for either Rob or I to help transition her to sleeping alone. ( anyone who has ever crawled into a crib would probably agree with me). We have SOOOO many clothes so at least I can spend some time and energy sorting through all of that and keeping what I think may fit. I've only been exposed to buying clothes for boys that were twice as big as their age..not the other way around so this is really unfamiliar territory! Thanks to neighbors and friends I have enough clothes to open my own store. Thanks to Lisa Johnson, I have identical Christmas dresses in three different sizes for the next 5 years!

So sure, it is 10:30am in China right now which I think is an excellent time to email a waiting American family updated pictures of their child...but hey, thats just me. Its been 2.5 weeks since we requested the info...its gonna happen soon...it has too. My fear is that if it doesnt happen, than we wont get any info at all. Some mothers in China dont always cooperate with the request for information...so there are no guarentees. After all, Im sure she has better things to do then get this information to me...doesnt make me want it any less.

The next big thing is of course the LOA which could come any day now. Because of the time change I have figured out that if I dont get a phone call in the morning, I can pretty much write off the day. I dont think anyone is sitting around the CCAA at 3 in the morning putting together LOA's. Im looking for news on the LOA anytime between NOW and three weeks from now..and then I will be able to relax a little more...not completely...but a little more.

Isnt it interesting that I can spend all this time writing about not much of anything. Cheaper than therapy I guess!

Hope tomorrow is the day for information!

Information drought...ARRRGGGH!

Okay...so we are on a information drought of some kind. I knew I shouldnt have had my hopes up for a weeks turnaround on updated photos and answers to questions...but I was really hoping I would have the answers in a week. We are going on day 17 now of what I was told would max at 21 so we should get something soon.

Other than that, I have nothing to report. The fall garage sell in my community is the first week of October so Im looking to get rid of high chairs, pack n plays, cribs, baby mattresses, activity centers, door jumpers... should be a nice addition to our adoption fund!

sigh... bye for now.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

16 Hour Flights...

Well, it finally happened...I had my first anxiety dream about flying to China. That's right. I admit it. Im a pilot and I hate to fly commercially. Actually it isn't the flying or the potential to go hurdling to my death in a fiery crash that makes me crazy. Nope. For me it is the idea of being trapped in a confined area for 16+ hours with no internet access, a one hour battery on my laptop, and absolutely no access to any information coming from the cockpit. As you probably guessed pilots on international flights often require the input of a 500 hour Army helicopter pilot who hasnt flown since the middle 90's in order to do their job successfully. Thank Goodness for the other passengers that Rob and I will be on that flight! Yes, you guessed it. Somebody has control issues! Let me warn any of you that may consider yourself someone with control issues...international adoption is NOT GOING TO HELP THE SITUATION. Just FYI - Don't say that I didn't warn you!

I got a little update from the women trying to get me information and she is still waiting for the answers. She is due back into China on September 7 and will be calling again to see if they have anything for me. Cross your fingers.

Okay then...just three more hours until the boys soccer game...guess I should get ready to go.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Its been 14 days....

Okay...so two full weeks ago I submitted my request for updated information. From what I was told it takes 14 to 21 days for information...however the person who coordinates this whole thing thought it would go faster because business has been slow. That's fine. As long as next week is the week for information...please, please, please. Updated height/weight...hoping for more pictures, some questions about likes/dislikes and communication.

We had our first sign language class and it was so much fun. Mostly because over half of the class were people I brought in my car! Barbara, Jann ( with two n's), Vickie ( Herbst means Autumn in German..who knew), Savannah, Braxton, R. and the boys. We all learned the alphabet and a few phrases like "Hi my name is D.." "My name sign is..." and most importantly - "I know little sign language, please sign slower". I picked my name sign which keeps changing between something with ice hockey and computers...depending on my mood. I did notice that some of the signs I thought I knew have changed over the years...like computer which I thought was drawing a box and then typing has since changed to an easier sign where you move the letter C along your arm. I wonder if in this faster pace we are keeping now a days if the signs are moving faster as well. I am assuming that some of the two step signs perhaps have been updated with one step signs? Guess we will find out. R. did great and half way through the class could finger spell his name and picked a name sign. R. anounced to the class full of adults that he wants to be a scientist so his name sign is a combination of the sign for science and the letter R. J., chose NOT to participate...shocker....so we picked a name sign for him that combines the sign for play with the letter J. I suggested perhaps using the sign for Prison for his name sign...but I was overruled by his father.

Another interesting point. Molly will most likely need to learn signed english over ASL so she can learn sentence structure. So instead of learning ASL, we are learning what they call pidgin sign language which is a combination of ASL and SSE ( signed exact english). See this link for an explanation of the types of sign language used in the states: http://www.listen-up.org/sign2.htm

Right now the plan is to get Molly here...get her comfortable and based on her personality and how she is doing, get her down to Birmingham to the International Adoption Clinic for a full evaluation. From there we will be going through the evaluations for hearing aids or implants or neither depending on what we find out. During that time, we will be doing a lot of signing.

I did find out from a very nice lady who just recently adopted a little girl from China that you have to teach them to use a western toilet. They have been taught to use the bathroom squatting over a hole...so that will be our first adventure in China. When they got her daughter who was 4.5 years old, she was not signing at all. By the time she had left China, the little girl was using 10 signs quite comfortably and now after being home a few months, knows and uses well over 100 signs.

Hoping for the best with the LOA...which is the next step....the LOA will come between one week and three weeks hopefully. Then the TA which will come between one week and three weeks. Of course Im hoping for one week on both accounts....hey, you never know!! Just taking one day at a time.

Will hopefully wrap up some projects this weekend and can begin getting ready for the big fall garage sale where I plan on getting rid of everything that we have used for a baby. Anyone want to buy a crib?

More ramblings later Im sure....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Okay...so not to sound greedy or anything...

Still on a cloud from yesterday's PA, Im thinking I sure would love some updated stats on Molly...height, weight, dare I say...NEW PICTURES! Also, we had submitted some fairly detailed questions about her that I would love to know the answers to..but we are really at the mercy of these overworked caretakers/ foster mothers in China. All I can do is sit here and wait and hope that we get some answers soon.

Busy day today...vet, basball practice, hockey tonight...so there is plenty to do...but I sure would love a distraction from that.

Looking forward to our first sign language class tomorrow night.

Hope I have more to post later today!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Whooo Hooo! We got the Pre Approval!

Finally...something to report other than what we hope will happen. Just got a phone call from the adoption agency. We got the PA. That means between one week and four weeks from now we should be looking at the LOA. So what is the PA. The PA stands for Pre Approval and basically means that China knows we want to adopt Molly and approves of the match. In a few weeks we will be getting in the mail a letter called the LOA ( letter of approval) that Rob and I will sign that basically tells China that we do indeed want to adopt Molly and then we send it back. You would think that spending $20K and wating for three years would be all they need to be convinced that we want her...but what the heck, if they want our signature on a piece of paper...so be it. A few weeks from there we receive our travel authorization and a few weeks after that we are eating Chinese food in China...of course they probably just call it food there.

Anyway, one more step towards bringing her home!

It is 8:30pm in China...do you know where your Molly is?

So of course you cant help but wonder at any point during the day what she is doing? Hoping she is happy or rested or fed. I have agreed to let myself get to Thursday before I start ringing the adoption agency's phone off the hook wondering where the Pre-Approval is? Hopefully something will come today or tomorrow to save them from my endless barrage of questions.

The boys have their first soccer game of the season tonight so that is a great distraction and of course, I do have a fair amount of work to do to complete some of my current websites. But feel more than confident that I will be able to maintain these sites on my hosting server while Molly is here.

Well, off to get Jack ready for school. Then back to the computer for some work.

Hopefully I will get the chance to post an update later today! Crossing fingers!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day...still no new info

So it has been a little over a week since I submitted some questions and the PA should be coming any day now. Sign Language classes start this week and there are a whole bunch of people that are going to take it with me which will be a LOT of fun! As long as I feel like there is something I can do to prepare, it will keep me from going too crazy. My hope is to complete the building of the several websites I have on the calendar and then go to strictly maintaining the sites in order to start prepping the house, the room, going through the mountains and mountains of girls clothes that people have been donating for three years. I could open up my own store with the amount of clothes I have. Actually, I have collected so many clothes and shoes, that Molly has more clothes and shoes than both my boys put together. It is just a matter of going through and figuring out what she can wear...hopefully the updated height and weight will help. There are so many things between the boys and baseball and soccer, my involvement in hockey, the sign language class and a friend of mine, Darla, is going to help me put together a book of sorts with items in that Molly can point to when she wants something. Hopefully that should help us get through the first few weeks in China when language/ communication will be minimal.

We are going to sell all the baby stuff we have been holding on to at the fall garage sale. It is so nice to be getting a three year old. I couldnt have planned it better.

Still feeling optimistic about the time....there is so much to do between then and now....but I know I will feel a lot better when I have that LOA in my hands.

Another family's stats:
LOI 12-14-07, ours is August 21, 2008
LOA 1-25-08, ours is expected in three to four weeks.
TA 2-29-08 , ours is expected in four to 7 weeks
We traveled on 3-11-08, ours is expected in 10 -12 weeks