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Posts Tagged ‘China’


I live in blissful ignorance at times. I feel much like when I used to hike up mountains back in New England. Your eyes would be focused on what you thought was a peak, drawing ever closer. When you got there, finally, you realized it was just a slight plateau and the mountain continued up. I would exclaim, “there’s more?!”Every time I think we are near the end of the journey, I see there is another slope I didn’t realize existed.

It is my fault. I’m sure Amie told me. The positive side is I’m not discouraged by the large number of steps still to be taken. I just take them as they come.

We had two big steps in the last week. We are so much closer, the air is cooling. There are patches of snow on the ground and the wind is picking up. I can almost touch the top.

We were waiting on passports for the kids. Last week we learned they had a batch coming in. Perhaps that batch would include our kids’ passports. Friday couldn’t come quick enough. Thankfully, their passports were in the batch that had arrived.

When we chose this agency, we’d already picked the country. None of the agencies represented themselves as Christian adoption agencies. After the fact we slowly discovered that some of the people were Christians. We started to see Scripture references. Well, the e-mail we got about the passports was filled with “Praise the Lord”s. They were having a “Praise the Lord Party” in the office. In God’s kind providence we chose a Christian adoption agency.

We learned, as you may have noticed last time, that the person setting up the embassy appointments was going to leave in May. The end of April receipt of the passports meant they could request the embassy appointments. But would they be submitted in time to be processed before the position changed hands and there was the inevitable delay due to the learning curve?

Today we learned we have appointments for the kids. Yeah, I thought the appointments were for us. I thought we could plan the trip. Almost, another ridge to climb first. The agency worker will drop off all the paperwork June 22nd and the kids will be interviewed June 25th.

How does that work exactly?

Embassy worker: “So, are you happy to be going to America?”

Micah: some response in French(?) along the lines of what is America?

Asher: “juice?”

The estimated travel dates are mid-July as a result of the appointment dates. It will be quick as visas are applied for, received and all that other stuff. More hills on the way to the top.

“Big ol’ jet airliner…”

But what I suspected happened- it is while we are on vacation. We had just booked our airfare, including a ticket for Micah (Asher is still young enough to fly free, barely). But all we have to cancel is her ticket to NY. Lord willing, they will be on the return flight to AZ with us. Amie and her friend, Wendy, will mostly take their 2nd “Get the Kid” transworld trip together. This time they will be together all the way since Wendy lives in NY. Last time they met, barely, in Detroit on their way to China together. This is better than having to cut a vacation short to prepare for  the trip like last time. You’d think we were always on vacation based on this pattern. The kids will spend a few days getting to know a whole bunch of cousins (it will feel like the orphanage) before we all head home together.

We are tired, but we have a few more hills to climb.

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I’ve been working on a SS series on Revelation lately. Too much.

We’ve been working on getting the house ready, as many of you know.  This weekend we painted the room the girls will be in. Our friend and renter is now on the other side of the world.  The room has been cleared out, the closet organizer will be installed tomorrow. So we painted. The walls here just seem to soak up paint. Crazy, I say.

We bought 2 adapters for the bed frames since the head boards Amie found on Craigs List had the old fashioned slots. So, I put both frames and head boards together and moved Jadon’s bed into the room. We still need a mattress for Micah, but we purchased a Living Social deal to cover that.

We’ll be moving a small chest of drawers we have between the beds to act as a night stand with additional storage. But you can get an idea of how things will look in there. We may start over with wall decorations. Tough question- do we put up baby pictures of Jadon? Would that bother Micah? Eli was much younger when we adopted him so it doesn’t seem to have been an issue for him. And they didn’t share a room. Something for us to think about.

On a slightly different note, Eli had his eval at the Shriners’ Hospital in LA. He will be having another surgery soon. This is one of the things you can’t always anticipate with adopted kids (and biological ones too). We knew he was a “special needs” child and anticipated medical care. We have heard from other adoptive parents whose kids have needed lots of care, especially dental care, upon coming home. The kids were not “special needs”. So we need to be prepared for the possibility of high medical expenses in the next year.

Tomorrow we head in for our fingerprints for DHS. Yes, they can’t just run them again because I might have changed into someone else. That’s me, a shape shifter.

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Choosing to See: A Journey of Struggle and Hope by Mary Beth Chapman is a very good book (see my full review here) focusing on the tragic death of their adopted daughter Maria and how the family has chosen to see God at work in all of it.  I think is a great book to read if you are considering adoption.  Mary Beth tells the story of their first adoption, and many of the emotions and fears that she experienced through the process.

She didn’t want to adopt.  It wasn’t her plan.  She had her hands full with 3 kids and a husband who was on tour much of the time.  She admits she struggled with depression and perfectionism.  She was not a candidate for adoption, in her mind.  But their daughter Emily was persistent.  Eventually they caved.

But the fears didn’t go away.  She was afraid that she would have difficulty loving this child.  Many adoptive parents have had the same fears.  I know I wondered about it, though probably not as much as she did.  But all that changed the moment she saw their new baby girl.  She tells it all better.

I didn’t travel to China, but stayed home and took care of our daughter while Amie traversed China.  But I remember driving to the airport to pick them up.  What would this little guy be like?  Would he be excited to meet this strange looking man?  Would he just be a screaming mess?

He was basically so exhausted that there was little response at the time.  I was a bit afraid as Amie decided she needed a bathroom break.  I would be alone with this stranger in the stroller.  I thought now he’d break out in tears or screams.  But he didn’t.  He was totally zoned out for his first ever ride in a car seat.  We learned that he used to ride on the driver’s lap.  That would be a big adjustment for him.

Sometimes your child, biological or adopted, drives you crazy.  But you still love them.  I can’t explain how it happens, but you love them.  Mary Beth shares her story about all those fears, and you’ll be encouraged.

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When we were adopting for the first time we lived in central Florida.  The Department of Homeland Security office in Tampa handled all of central Florida- including 2 major metropolitan areas.  The first time we went, we misread the map and discovered this most of the way to the wrong office.  This office was in downtown Tampa.  Sadly, the office we were supposed to go to was far closer to home.  Sigh.

The office was huge with nearly a dozen biometic scanners for fingerprinting.  I always seemed to get the grumpy employees.  Yes, we had to go back since our fingerprints ‘expired’ right before Amie’s trip to China.  It was pretty much a nightmare.

So we did not know what to expect when we got our appointments last month.  We did discover that they only sent appointment slips for the 2 of us.  The  church member who lives with us also needed to be fingerprinted.  Amie called the customer service # to see what we should do.  She got a real live person in less than an hour!  Apparently, though they took our money for 3 sets of fingerprints, they didn’t actually “open” the file.  The customer service rep said that he could just go with us and there shouldn’t be a problem.

As it turned out, we had one of those weeks.  Utterly insane quite frankly.  We are trying to find affordable insurance that includes Eli who had previously been excluded due to his cleft palate.  The Saturday before our appointment we discovered that a pipe at the church froze and burst.  The kitchen was destroyed and the sanctuary was flooded.  I was working with other church officers on setting up plans for the continuation of ministry as well as repairing the building.  The last thing I needed to do was spend an afternoon hanging around a DHS Support Center.

The Support Center was on the far side of town.  Thankfully not too far from the highway.  It was actually quite underwhelming.  It was significantly smaller than the office in Tampa since it was an auxiliary office.  The main office was in Phoenix.  There were precisely 2 machines, and one person who was scanning prints.

However, the manager needed a number, and without an appointment she wasn’t sure what to do with our friend.  Unlike Amie, she was not able to get a real, live person on the line.  She wasn’t sure what to do.  But she was flexible, focused on customer service (what a relief after some of our discussions with local government officials who forgot they are public SERVANTS).  She figured that the worst that could happen is that he’d have to come back.

In and out, with the administrative hassles in less than an hour.  Yes!  This was great because I’d not slept the previous 2 nights and I was utterly brain dead.  I suspect that if I hadn’t brought a book, we might still be there.

So we return to the waiting game.  Once/if USCIS approves our application, we will then send in our dossier to the DRC, and wait.

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We’re Grateful


He's King o' the World!

The other day we showed Eli a picture of himself while he was still in China.

“Li-Li hurt” was the response to seeing himself with the cleft lip.

He’s so full of life (too full?).  We’re grateful for our little guy (and our little girl, but this is an adoption blog).

Also, please for Mike and Tonya Davis who are currently in Nepal hoping to bring their adopted son home.

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Back in January of 2008, we undertook what we called Operation Eli (follow the links to read the story).  Amie went to China while I stayed home to care for Jadon.  It was a bit tricky because we learned of their travel plans while we were in NY on vacation.  We cut our vacation short to attend to necessary details prior to departure.  It was impossible to arrive home from NY on Thursday and depart on Friday for China.  “Not gonna do it, wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture.”

Day One was a travel day.  Amie experienced delay upon delay.  Traffic jams, late flights, you name it.  It was a long stressful day.  Tampa to Detroit to Tokyo to Beijing (aka Peking).

Day Two was recovery day.  Not much happened but I’ve got updates on my in-laws journey to help me out, and a fine ale provided by my friend Danny.

Day Three was cold.  Sorry, COLD!  A huge cold front had descended upon China that would remain for her entire trip.  Other families would get stuck in northern provinces.  It was a transportational nightmare.  But this was also sightseeing day.  Amie and Wendy shivered their way through the Forbidden City.  Back home, Jadon really missed her mom.  There are some really cute stories about that.

Day Four was a Sunday so they got to worship in the International Church in Beijing.  You had to leave your passport at the door.  Then it was off to the Great Wall (I need to put a new photo up for that).  She was in town at the same time as Joe Torre and Charles Steinberg, but didn’t see them.  When Mima showed up, I was suddenly unimportant to Jadon.  There’s nothing like the power of a grandmother to sooth a child.  The Patriots won the AFC Championship game to stay perfect on the season (I refuse to think of the Super Bowl at this point!).

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I suppose we’ll continually be comparing our current process with our previous process.  The latest thing we did to work on the dossier was obtaining the legal documents necessary- birth certificates.

China required Secretary of State certified documents.  So we had relatives pick up copies, mail them to us and then sent them to the proper states to be certified.  It had quite a few steps, but everything seemed to get done in a timely fashion with few problems along the way.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo requires Certified copies, with seals.  We don’t have to send them back for the Sec of State to certify.  Easier, right?

Not so fast.  Thankfully my parents went and picked up copies of mine (always get a few back up copies, just in case!  The cost per additional copy is not much and you save time should one get lost.).  Apparently they had a difficult time getting to and from Dorchester, MA.

Keep reading, it will make sense

Since Amie’s parents are in NY now, we decided to use the only company (whose name shall not be uttered) that handles these things.  Yes, they have a monopoly and monopolies are often inefficient.  Having no competition, they can be as inept as they want and you still have to deal with them.

We previously had Amie’s sister pick up copies.  It is more difficult since she too has been married and has to bring documentation to prove she’s eligible to receive them (identity theft is a big problem).  We decided to spare her the pain.  It was multiplied for us.

I would suggest traveling back to the state of your birth rather than dealing with them who shall not be named.  It was THAT painful.  You might even save time flying home.  You’ll get fewer gray hairs.

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