Saturday, October 5, 2013

Running Out of Time

I'm having to face it - I'm running out of time before the trip and I'm never going to get our story updated before we leave. So I'm just going to add the itinerary for now.

We leave on October 10th (this Thursday) and arrive in Beijing on the 11th (Friday).
We'll tour Beijing on the 12th, then fly to Gwen's province, Anhui on the 13th (Sunday). We'll be staying in the capitol city of  Hefei, at the Holiday Inn - which, excitingly, has subway construction going on across the street. In the reviews I read, the clients stated that you can request free earplugs from the hotel staff. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!
We'll meet Gwen on the 14th at 9:30am - that's 9:30pm Sunday night for the foks in the US, since China is approx 12 hours ahead.
We'll complete the adoption paperwork and wait for her new Chinese passport, plus tour the area, until the 18th (Friday), when we fly to Guangzhou. 
If they don't close the US Consulate in Guangzhou for being non-essential (just joking!) (I hope...), we'll get Gwen's visa during this week and then head home on October 25th (Friday).
I'll try to blog each day if I can figure out why I can't load photos into the blog from my netbook. Yet another pesky technical glitch - most likely operator error.
We're flying Delta and connecting in Detroit. I can predict that as soon as we land there on the way home, my first stop - and Gwen's first meal in the US - will be at McDonalds. I'll be so happy to see plain, American  junk food and an English menu!!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Time Line for Gwen

I have still been bad about not posting. I just haven't gotten back into the habit. But nothing earth shattering has happened - we've just been doing paperwork and MORE paperwork. But... dare I say it... I think we're almost done. We have to be - we have our travel dates! The end is in sight!

Here's our time line to Gwen:

October 8, 2012 - Allison Roark, mom to Brooke's foster-brother, Meng Meng, sent an email with the picture and story of the most adorable little girl... with a one sentence text:
Sure you're done?
Mark said, "Yes, we are DONE!"

December 20, 2012 - The stars shifted and the planets aligned and Mark said, "No, we're not done!" And thus began our adoption paperchase and the search for Gwen (or "Sierra" as she was known at Love Without Boundaries, the people who had saved her life and posted her story on their website).

01/16/13 - CCAI approved our adoption application and we started the paperchase so that when Gwen's file was available we might be at a point where we would be allowed to review it. (Odds of success estimated at 0%.)
03/19/13 - Found out from a little bird that Gwen's file was complete and had been sent to Great Wall China Adoption Agency in Texas (sadly, not CCAI, but at least she was in the US)
03/22/13 - We obtained exclusive rights to review Gwen's file from Great Wall
04/08/13 - Submit Letter of Intent (LOI) (telling China we want her)
04/16/13 - Receive Pre-Approval (PA) (China says we seem ok - send in your paperwork) 
05/01/13 - Our I-800A is approved (US Immigration says we can adopt from overseas)
05/17/13 - We send our completed dossier to China (DTC)
05/22/13 - China acknowledges receipt of the dossier (LID) and they start their review
07/24/13 - China approves our adoption of Gwen (LSC/LOA) Whoo-hoo!
07/26/13 - We send our I-800 to US Immigration (to get their approval to adopt Gwen in particular)
08/12/13 - Immigration approves the I-800
08/15/13 - NVC letter is issued (more paperwork)
08/30/13 - The US Consulate in Guangzhou, China issues our "Article 5" (ok'd to proceed)
09/06/13 - China issues our Travel Approval (based on the Article 5 from US Immigration)
09/09/13 - We get our travel dates: Depart 10/10, meet Gwen 10/14, Return 10/25.

Return 10/25??? Gwen's 4th birthday!!! Unfortunately, she'll spend the entire day (day and 1/2 since we're flying back in time) in the air, but she'll become a US citizen on her birthday when we land in Detroit!!!! How neat is that? What were the chances??

Here are some recent pics:

Gwen in May. Her hair is growing back nicely! She looks so happy and healthy.

Gwen in late June. No wonder she looks so sad - she had to be burning up! It's HOT over there and she's in long sleeves, leggings and a t-shirt!!!

Gwen on August 28th! Double-decker ponytails :)
When I requested an update, I asked how she felt about the adoption. They answered that she "was willing to be adopted, but was loath to leave her foster family".
We're very lucky that her foster family has been preparing her for this transition, but I know it's still going to be very hard for her to part with them. It's going to be a rough few days at the very least. She'll probably fall in love with Debbi, like Brooke did, and completely diss me. Oh well, whatever gets her thru... :)

  Next Post - The story of how we got from "no" to "yes", and how we got Gwen's file, even tho we had 0% chance of success.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

It's May Already AGAIN - 2 years later!

It's May 9th, 2013. Haven't blogged in 2 years! Time flies. But there's a renewed reason to blog - to follow our new adventure back to China to get Gwen (possible name). She's darling, 3 1/2, and waiting in Anhui. We hope to bring her home in October. It has been an unexpected and stressful road, but we think we can see the end of it. Here's the newest Myers girl! (Poor Mark is totally outnumbered now...)

She is shaking her finger at me, saying, "Get a move on, lady! Hurry up with the paperwork!"
Ha! We're moving as fast as we can! I will return to China with Debbi, my intrepid friend, while Mark watches the girls at home. They should be in school most of the day, so he's lucky. And Debbi and I are lucky because it will be October (or Fall at least) and therefore COOL and comfy. Not a sweat-fest like the last visit in July.

Details to follow!
(Looks like I have a lot of pictures to update!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's May Already!!

A friend reminded me that I hadn't blogged in a long time and I realized she was right. There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day... So here are some pictures from the last several weeks.

Olivia's elementary school had a Spring Fling in March to raise money. It was fun! Olivia got to meet the Chik-Fil-A cow! (Brooke would have nothing to do with him!)

Of course, if there are kids - there are bouncies. Olivia is usually good about keeping an eye on Brooke and helping her over the obstacle courses or up stairs.

Brooke loved the Tangled movie. I saw this project on another woman's blog and totally copied it, and it came out great. It's a DIY Rapunzel tower! First we put together a few empty boxes... (Thank you, naked Ken.)

Then we spray painted them purple...

And then we added brick and mortar, trees, leaves and flowers... Disney has nothing on us!!!

Brooke on the sofa with the Bostons.

Olivia on the sofa with the Bostons. (Notice a theme...?) Actually, Olivia came home from school with an ear ache this day. After a trip to the doctor, she ended up on medication and was back to school after another day of taking it easy. That was one month ago - and we've just now been back to the doctor with another ear ache in the same ear. New medicine this time. I hope this isn't the start of a trend...

Feeling better and clowning around...

Brooke is letting her hair grow out. She wants it as long as Rapunzel's (ugh). Now she wants me to braid it all the time. It's not quite long enough, but I'm doing my best. It doesn't show very well in the picture, but I got it all swept up and back. She ran to the bathroom to look and came out to proudly say, "I look Chinese!!" (Like that was something new?) I don't know what it is about having her hair up, but she loves to say she "looks Chinese" when it's done that way. Who knows what was imprinted on that young mind from her time in China?

Brooke pointing out that she didn't fall asleep like her big sister.

Mark on the sofa with the Bostons.

Olivia on the sofa with her Boston Terrier "pillow pet".

During Spring Break, cousin Ivey had the idea to eat at Medieval Times - where you eat with your hands and watch a joust. We'd thought about going there, but just hadn't gotten around to it. We were off to ye olde England!

It turned out to be great fun!! We were glad we went! The girls LOVED it! You are assigned seats around a large arena. Each area is loyal to a different color and knight. We were loyal to the red and gold knight. Huzzah!!!

The knights acted out a whole story as we ate - sometimes in the dark. Kinda tricky when you're already eating with your fingers (no utensils!). But it all worked out. They gave us tomato soup in a tiny pot with a handle, 1/2 a chicken (a full 1/2 - it was huge!), a couple ribs, garlic bread, a roasted potato, and pastry for dessert. The food was actually really good! When a big group is all fed at once, you never know - but we were quite happy. I knew about the "no utensils" thing beforehand, so I brought plastic ones for the girls' food. I was glad I did. It made eating very easy for them.

Our handsome Red and Gold knight! Too bad he got his butt kicked later in the show.

Brooke just looking cute with her shades and her panda.

Uncle Dave was around when Olivia tired to ride her bicycle (a.k.a. the death-mobile) again. He looked at it and touched it (literally - he didn't DO a thing to it) and Olivia suddenly declared that it was "fixed". She said that "Uncle Dave is magic!!!!" She was excited to ride again! (Daddy was left feeling like chopped liver.) We went back to the park and she rode like the wind. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whatever it takes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just a nice shot of the stream at the park.

It was "Breakfast with the Bunny" time at Brooke's pre-school. Here's Mr. Bunny, looking very dapper in his teal, velvet waistcoat. Brooke wasn't afraid at all and hopped right onto his lap.

Daddy and Brooke at the buffet table before the egg hunt. Lots of yummy things to eat!

We had a new cat showing up on our porch at night. I assumed she was female because of the pink rhinestone collar she wore. We thought she was trying to make friends with Oswald until she climbed the 6 foot fence and tried to wale on him in the backyard. He fled to the top of the skinny, flimsy canopy on the deck. (We lost the canopy top when it caved in under many pounds of snow this past winter.) I heard the fight from indoors and when I got out back, this is what I saw. Poor Oswald was panting like he'd just run a mile. I had never seen any cat so upset/frantic. The Bostons had heard the fight and run out back, frightening away the attack cat. He spent the next full day and night in the basement, refusing to come upstairs. Finally he came back up, but would not go outside. He's back to normal now and I ran the other cat off with a water gun. He may have been the one "tree-ed" but it was mostly the other cat's fur that was in the grass. He gave as good as he got...

This is Gracie. We were pet sitting for her mom and dad during Easter weekend. I think all our Easter dinner guests had a mini-panic as they arrived, thinking we'd adopted yet another dog. Ha! She is a super-smart, well behaved little dog. She has her own wardrobe, but she goes naked when she stays at our house.

Brooke dressed up like an Easter egg! She is getting so tall!! (Polka dots are Aunt Debbi's favorite!)

Olivia's Kindergarten class had an egg hunt, also. Here are some of her classmates. She is acting like a bunny before the hunt.

Run around like crazy looking for eggs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stop for a second so your pesky mom can take a picture of you with your sister...

And then run aroud like crazy again looking for all the eggs you can carry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brooke, Olivia and her classmate, Jordana, after the hunt.

How Olivia sees the Easter Bunny... plaid.

Time to put the big table together for Easter dinner! Brooke takes her turn with the power drill.

And then it's Olivia's turn. Bbbbbzzuppppp!

Oswald napping in my bathroom sink. He is a most curious cat. He's getting older and more romantic all the time. He's such a handsome fellow.

Having cocoa/coffee and cookies with Daddy and talking with Grandma Helen on the phone!

We didn't do big Easter baskets this year. We took the easy route and gave each girl a gift. Brooke got a Hello Kitty doll and Olivia got a diary with a lock, plus they shared a Tangled DVD. We did a small egg hunt. Oprah helped with the egg hunt, even tho she slept thru the whole thing. (She sleeps most of the time anymore.)

Lots of chocolate eggs - what more could you want?

Grandma Sally with Lucy. Pink suits her! (Sally, not Lucy.) (Well... Lucy, too!)

Grandpa Howard...

Aunt Deb (different from Aunt Debbi) giving Smoochy some love.

Olivia and Ivey playing badmitton in the backyard against...

Dave and Dave! (step-cousin Dave and Uncle Dave). What form!!!!!!!!!!!!

After everyone left... Mark and the Bostons on the sofa. (Mark worked midnight shift, came home, got an hour's nap and then was the "Host with the Most" for Easter, so we can't blame him for z-z-z-z-ing out on the sofa.)

That's all for now! More later!!! At least I got current to Easter!