Monday, August 27, 2007

Its been two years...

It was two years ago this month that Joe and I submitted our application to adopt. The other day I was looking back at when I started this blog and had to chuckle when I read my 2nd post. Here it is, but shortened up...

Friday, September 09, 2005
Our progress so far...

For those of you who don't know about the adoption process, I'll sum it up in one word....LONG! There are multiple documents... Actually, the paperwork is all very easy, it's just the waiting while the government agencies do their thing that is the hard part.

We submitted our application on August 8th. It's been a month since we applied and we already have most of our documents completed...

If all goes well, we are hoping to be DTC by January 1st. After we are DTC, then our dossier is translated into Chinese and we are LID. At that point, it's about a 7 month wait until we receive our referral, then about 8 weeks or so until we make the long journey to get baby Lauren. It's going to be a long road ahead, but we have an amazing reward waiting for us in China!

Of course, we would have NEVER guessed at the time what kind of wait we were actually in for. The funny part is that we still don't know now, two years later!

My best, realistic guess is that we may see our referral this time next year. I know, it's hard to image this scenario, but this WILL be the case if the CCAA stays at their current pace. If they pick up the pace, we'll see our referral's that simple.

It's hard to believe that there is only three months between the current referred through date of 11/21/05 and our LID of 2/17/06, but it could actually take 12 months to get to ours!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

High bidder for Joe's bag too...

I came in high bidder on Ebay for Joe's favorite Diaper Dude bag. Now he can have his own bag for his daddy daughter outings with Lauren. I didn't want him to have to sport some girlie bag!

We really did well on Ebay this weekend. I could easily get addicted to this, so I think I'd better stay off there for a while.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm the winning bidder....

on a new Reese Li leaf diaper bag! Thanks to Diana for giving me the heads up on the Ebay auction.

They retail for $150 and I got it for $107. Considering I was planning on buying it full price, I saved $43. This is my first purchase on Ebay. I've sold a few things and bid a few times, but this is the first bid I won.

I can't wait to see the bag. I sure hope it's in new condition as stated. I'll find out soon enough. Now, I'm going to bid on a Diaper Dude bag for Joe.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It shouldn't be this hard...

to get our new I-171H! For those of you not in the know on adoption forms, this is the king kahuna form that allows you to travel to China to adopt an orphan. Believe it or not, even with this LONG wait, this form expires 18 months from issuance. I know, this makes LOTS of sense.

Months before our first one expired, Joe and I got re-fingerprinted (although, last time I checked, I had the same exact fingers and prints) and submitted our new I-600A (which is the application for the I-171H) with a nice fat fee of $545.00. Yup, that's right, that much just to get a new form with a fresh expiration date. We also contacted our home study agency to arrange for an update so we could get a new court certification (a requirement to get a new I-171H). Cha-ching...another $600 for that.

Months later after getting everything done, still no I-171H in the mail. After contacting our local USCIS office (US immigration) by e-mail I find out that they never got the court certified home study. I'm thinking, okay this will be easy...I'll just call my home study agency and make sure they sent it. Well, come to find out that's not part of their service and they refer me to my placement agency. Guess what? No luck there either.

So, okay, I decide to take my afternoon off to head over to the USCIS office in downtown Phoenix. Just to get in the door, I need to navigate through major light rail construction, traffic jams everywhere, an over zealous security guard out front who makes me dump the contents of my purse on the table, then I need to strip every piece of jewelry and my belt off to make the damn metal detector stop beeping. I finally get into the building, locate the right window and stand in line. ALL this to find out that they won't accept the homestudy and my cover letter in person. They tell me I need to mail it in. With that, she gives me a little slip of paper with the address of the VERY building I'm standing in and tells me "you'll have to mail it in, we don't accept them here." I'm thinking, what the hell are you talking won't accept them here, but I should mail it here??? Talk about the ultimate red tape! I said, "you're kidding, right?" and she just shook her head no. Is it me, or is this just a little crazy? To top it all off, on the way out they charged me for last jab!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Diaper bag...

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE bags and that I'm a bit of a purse snob. I tend to be brand loyal and don't buy super trendy "disposal" purses that are worn out by the time the trend is over. My favorite brands are Coach and Fossil and my collection pretty much consists of these two brands, plus a couple of Brighton bags thrown into the mix.

With this being said, I've been web surfing off and on for a while now looking for just the right diaper bag for me. This evening I came across Reese Li Baby and I love the Lexington Bag. The exterior of the bag is made of laminated canvas so it's wipeable and waterproof...a big plus for me. It also has a really nice strapping system that goes from shoulder to stroller handle in a pinch.

Now to decide which print I like better...

Earth StripeEarth FloraHmmmm, which one do you like best?

Here's how it hooks onto the stroller...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thoughts on China Ghosts...

This past week I read China Ghosts - My Daughter's Journey to America, My Passage to Fatherhood.

I loved this book. For one thing, it's written from the father's perspective which is pretty unique for an adoption book. The author is a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and has a very interesting writing style that really held my attention. I had a hard time putting this book down.

The book starts with him and his wife on the bus ride to their daughter's province of Hunan. The author does a great job of expressing his feelings and all the details along their journey. The book covers their time in China, their transition to parenthood, and how they go about raising their daughter (who was 2 years old when they got her).

The focus of the book is how the author deals with Jin Yu's "China Ghosts", his term for all that his daughter left behind...her caregivers, the other children at the orphanage, her birth family, and everything that is familiar to her.

This book REALLY made me think about how Joe and I will come to terms with Lauren's past. I've spent the majority of this wait thinking about the much anticipated "gotcha" moment and how to help her to grieve and move onto her new life. I haven't really prepared myself for how often I might think about Lauren's birth mother and how I might feel about her. I wonder how we will be affected by not knowing the details of her abandonment and her life at the orphanage. All the blank spots that we may never have answers to.

The author is driven to seek details, not only for himself but for Jin Yu. He is at times almost haunted by her China Ghosts and goes through periods of being very grateful to the birth mother and birth country then dealing with anger as well. The book has really given me a new perspective, which I think will help me prepare for our trip and be a better momma to Lauren.

It's a great read, and I highly recommend it. I'm going to loan it to my mother and sister-in-law next. Anyone who will be really close to Lauren would benefit by reading this book.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Black thumb has been confirmed...

Well, I guess it's definitely confirmed that I DO NOT have a green thumb. I had posted previously about my little cactus pots that I was sure I couldn't kill, but I shouldn't have been so sure of myself.

After watering them every other week and lovingly placing them near the window every morning, I came home the other day to a surprising sight...

Check out how the one on the right totally deflated! I didn't know a cactus could do this. The one on the left has black spots on the top and bottom and the middle one decided it couldn't even stand up anymore.

Note to CCAA: I know this looks really bad, but I promise that this ONLY happens with plants. ;)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

18 month LIDversary...

We all know the expression "a slow boat to China."

Need I say more?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This and that...

This past Saturday I saw Sweet Charity with a few friends from our local FCC group (Kim, Laura and Ann). The show is staring Paige Davis, the former host of Trading Spaces. She was fantastic and I was surprised how well she can sing and dance. If you get a chance to see it on tour, don't miss it.

On Sunday I meet a few friends for lunch and than headed over to a scrapbook show. They weren't as many vendors as we expected, but I managed to find something to add to my collection of stuff. I have been doing my pages digitally, but I've been missing playing with the paper, stamps, ribbons, stickers, etc. I think I'll still be creating some digital pages, but I'm going to go back to doing traditional scrapbooking too.

Yesterday I joined Curves. I went for a trial period last week and I think I can actually do this. If you've never been into a Curves, it's a 30 minute workout consisting of about 15 machines set up in a circle with a resting spot between each one. The idea is to work out on each machine for 30 seconds, then rest (or jog in place) for 30 seconds, then machine, then rest and on and on until you complete the circle twice. There's workout music playing with a voice over that tells you when to move to the next position. The circle of machines looks really innocent, until you try to work on them and keep up with movement around the circle. By the 2nd time around, I'm sweating like a maniac! After you complete the circle twice, you switch over to the stretching area and complete a series of stretches. My goal is to go after work two or three times a week. I'm hoping that after a couple of months, my fibromyalgia pain will start to decrease and maybe I can actually loose some body fat. God knows I can use that! Does anyone have any Curves success stories?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Nursery update...

We're finally getting Lauren's closet organized. Click here to check out the new closet system we installed.

While I was shopping for closet organizers at Target, the 50% off and clearance signs were calling my name from the baby clothes section. "Come check this cute stuff have more room in your closet now." ;).

I've seen this t-shirt on other blogs and I love it...

These two shirts were $2.48 each, so it was impossible to leave them there...

This cute polka dot shirt was $6 and the shirt was $7...

and this floral shirt and matching skirt were only $4.48 each. Gotta LOVE Target!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Overdue commercial...

I've been seeing commercials lately for FibroHope, a new web-site on fibromyalgia, and decided to check it out.

I was diagnosed back in 1998. It's not easy dealing with a chronic pain condition that affects daily life, especially when most people don't know or understand what it is. It's nice to see that there is more public attention focused on it lately, which may help people who are suffering from it and haven't been diagnosed yet. I went through two full years of testing for everything under the sun before I discovered what was wrong.

I hope that friends and family will take a few minutes to look at the web-site and check out the link for "Understanding Fibromyalgia."

Friday, August 03, 2007

August referrals...

Well, it's official that the CCAA got through 7 days again this month.

This means that since April's batch, which came out on April 6th, we have seen 28 days worth of LID's processed. Simply put, this is 28 days worth of files processed in a period of 5 months.

I'm not going to whine about it right now...I'm fresh out of tears and just a little numb. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that we won't see Lauren's face until mid to late 2008.

That just seems SOOOO long away!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Starbucks strikes again...

Those evil marketing geniuses over at Starbucks have sucked me and several co-workers into these totally adorable little ceramic ice cream bowls.

I swear, the Starbucks people work in cahoots with the Bath & Body Works people to figure out ways to package things so people like me can't live without it! Check out this clever packaging...

Come on, you HAVE to admit that this is pretty darn cute.

The package even contains a gift certificate for a free Starbuck's ice cream at the grocery store. Resistance is futile! ;)