Friday, January 30, 2009

Yo, Baby!!!!!!!!

Mark did it!!!!!!!!!!!! He starts with the Packaging Department on Monday!! It has been a VERY stressful week, but it had a happy ending! After he got the news and we called friends and family, Mark said, "We can still bring Brooke home!" So, after his employment paperwork is signed on Monday, I'll call the agency and have them send our dossier papers to China!!!!!!! Finally!!!!
Mark never thought he'd work in Packaging, but he's looking forward to it. It will give him a whole new skill set. That's a very good thing in case we ever face this situation again...
Mark is Superman. (I knew that before, but now, maybe, he knows it, too.) :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Axe Fell

Thursday morning, Mark was told that his position with the company was being eliminated. We knew this was a possibility, but we really didn't think it would happen. It has been quite a shock. He has been very overwhelmed at the outpouring of sympathy by his co-workers and people in other departments he doesn't even work with. He's heard thu the grapevine that some have started a letter writing campaign to the Front Office. It's not going to change anything, but it certainly softens the blow. He is still working, but the cuts will go into effect within the month, if not immediately. Five others from his department were also cut. He is going to interview for a couple of positions open in different departments. With any luck, he will get one of those. He gets a nice severance package, but with this economy, he could easily be out of work for a year or more, and the severance money would be long gone. We have not discussed the adoption and have decided not to, until we know about the other jobs. They would probably involve pay cuts, but that's a lot better than NO pay!! And we wouldn't have to move - great since no one can sell a house in this economy.
As I write this, I wonder - what will this page turn into? Just blank, a deadend? Or will we still be able to bring our little girl home? We've lead fairly uneventful lives up until now - I guess it's our turn for a little bit of drama!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yeah! Sort of....

The I-797C form from Immigration finally came back from the Houston Consulate Tuesday!!!! Finally. The Chinese seal is dated the 6th. But it took them a week to overnight it back to us?!?!? Grrr... So, I'll take everything to the adoption agency for their "critical review" and then our dossier will wing it's way to China.... NOT. We're going to have it reviewed, but then we have to put things on hold for a week, or maybe two, or maybe more. The dreaded layoffs are supposed to be announced next week at Mark's business. Finally. If he is allowed to stay, then we can stay on course. If he is laid-off... everything changes. Everyone is laying off and no one is hiring. The bottom line is we will lose the ability to adopt and we'll have to release our "dibs" on Ke Xin. We could keep trying to find a solution, but if Mark is not gainfully employed, the agency can't honestly say that we can support another child. And Ke Xin gets older everyday and her adoptability lessens. It's not fair to hold onto her for another 5 months and then cut her loose. We're just keeping our fingers and toes crossed.

Friday, January 9, 2009


We overnighted the last document needed for our dossier to the Chinese Counsulate in Houston to be "authenticated" on December 29th. It STILL isn't back and it's starting to drive me crazy. It is no fun to watch the mailbox everyday...

"Waiting" is the theme of Chinese (and probably every other) adoption. For those of you who are not familiar, here is the procedure for adopting from China: First, you have a Home Study done. A Home Study is written by a licensed social worker and tells about your home and the people in it. It basically tells whether you are fit to adopt. You send that Home Study (and the required application, forms and of course, money) to US Immigration (USCIS). They have to give you permission to "bring a foreign orphan into the United States". While the Home Study is being written and USCIS is reviewing it, the adopting family is collecting documents required by China to prove the family meets their standards for adoption, including birth certificates, marriage certificates, employment verifications, income verification, medical exams, etc. This is your "dossier". All of those documents, including the USCIS approval form, have to be notarized, certified by the county, certified by the Secretary of State and authenticated by the Chinese Consulate for your state. After you have all the papers with all the necessary seals and stamps, you send it all to China. If you are doing the type of adoption we are, you are usually matched with a child during this paperchasing-time, also. China will look over all your documents and proclaim Yes or No to your adoption request. Then you wait about a month for Travel Approval and you can finally buy your airline tickets and get your child.

You wait during all the stages of this process. You wait for your home study (2-4 months), then you wait for USCIS approval (3-4 months), then you wait for China to review your dossier and send you their approval (3-4 months), then wait another month or longer for Travel Approval. It teaches you patience if nothing else. And anything can happen during the process to slow you down. For instance, we got the email from USCIS on Dec 17th that we had been approved. But because of Christmas, we didn't get the official form until Dec 26th. That was the Friday after Christmas and every State and Federal office was closed, so I couldn't get the local notarizations, etc., until the next Monday, the 29th. Then there was New Years, more down time. Now we're STILL waiting for the Chinese Consulte to send back that USCIS form with their stamp of approval. When it comes, I'll run all the dossier docs to the adoption agency. They will have it for 1-2 weeks for "critical review". Then they'll send it to their Home Office in Colorado where it will be bound and then sent to China. So, it's been almost a month since USCIS approved us and we still haven't gotten the paperwork to China. It can't even go to the agency yet! AARRGGHH!!!!

But when it does - the clock will really start ticking. We're hoping to travel in May or June. We have a little 2 year old girl waiting for us in Henan. Her Chinese name is Qian Ke Xin (pronounced Chee-en Cuh Sheen) and her birthday is 2 years and 1 week after Olivia's. Hmmm... How are we going to handle birthday parties? She is very tiny, 22lbs at 26 months old, and has a sweet, solemn face. We only have 1 photo of her smiling. An orphanage isn't the most fun place... We're hoping she and Olivia will grow to be close sisters. Olivia has always done well with the children we have fostered and she's looking forward to having a sister who doesn't "leave".

That's enough for today. I'll post again when something happens.
Here are 2 recent photos we received of Ke Xin with her orphanage update!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


The plan for this blog is to follow our whole family, but primarily focus on our daughter Olivia (4) and her soon-to-be-sister Brooke, who is 2 and currently loving in Luohe, Henan, China. We hope to complete the adoption in May or June '09 when we'll travel to China for 2 weeks and then bring her home. I have never blogged before, so forgive any stumbles I may make along the way.