Archive for November, 2010

Picture Day

Tonight after dinner we went to get pictures taken that could be sent to China with our Dossier.  We needed a picture of Patrick & I that showed most of our body (so they could see that we aren’t too fat) and a picture of all 3 of us.  Our agency strongly recommend that these pictures be professional pictures if at all possible.  They are the only glimpse that the Chinese government will get at us and the agency wants us to make a good impression. Patrick and I also each need 6 passport photos that will be sent in at various stages of the adoption with paperwork and then also to get a visa to travel to China.  The photo shoot went well and we got all the pictures we needed along with a really awesome father/ daughter picture.  Below you’ll see our family photo that we’ll send to China.  I had to scan it so it’s not the best quality but you at least get to see the picture :)

Our Family Photo for China

The only big shock was at the end of the night we discovered that the passport pictures cost a FORTUNE!  Now I know that we needed 12 between the two of us but they cost way more than the other pictures we got tonight.  Who knew 2″ by 2″ mug shots could cost so much!  Oh well, it’s one more thing to check off our list for the adoption and one small step closer to getting Olinnie.

Today I also finished getting pictures of our house for the Dossier and got them printed as well.  I wanted to get those shots all taken before we started decorating for the holidays.  We needed 1 outside shot of the house and then 3 indoor pictures of the house.  Our agency recommended that we take more photos than we needed and send them all in to them with our paperwork and that they would pick the best ones to include with the Dossier.  I got shots of our dinning room, kitchen, music room, family room, and Olinnie’s bedroom (even though their bedroom isn’t really ready yet but it still looked fine in the picture).  I think most of the indoor shots came out well so they should have plenty to choose from when the time comes.

Home Study Visit #1

Last night Patrick and I had our 1st home study visit with our social worker.  I have to admit I was a little nervous going in because I had no idea what the visit was going to be like.  On Sunday I went nuts cleaning the house and then yesterday afternoon I went through the house again straightening everything up.  Well, it’s nice to have a clean house but the social worker never left our family room so I guess I didn’t need to go SO crazy cleaning.

We really like our social worker and we think the meeting went really well.  She was here for about 1 1/2 hours and we just talked about our relationship, why we want to adopt, our family now, and what things will look like when we bring Olinnie home.  Our social worker spent a lot of time talking with us and making sure that we had realistic expectations about what our child might be like and what some of the struggles might be when they come home.  Patrick and I both felt like our conversations were more about making sure we understood what we were getting into rather than really evaluating if we’d be good parents.

One thing that did come out of the conversations last night was our social worker asking us why we put we’d be open to a child age 0- 3.  She recommended that we think about making that age range smaller and then state in the home study that we’d like to be matched with a child as young as possible.  Her rational was that the older the child the more baggage they bring with them because they have been in an orphanage or foster care for longer; so it would be better for us to adopt a child as young as possible.  She said that she’d rather see us define the child’s age by months and maybe say our upper limit is 24 or 28 months old.  This is something that Patrick and I are going to think about and probably adjust our age range a little in the weeks to come.

On a totally different topic… Congress did something really great yesterday for the adoption world!

Yesterday congress passed The International Adoption Simplification Act which fixed a few things The Hague Convention complicated when it went into effect and will directly affect Olinnie when we are bringing them home.  When the Hague Convention was enacted a few years ago all children 10 and under had to be up to date on all vaccinations when they entered the United States.  Many of the children in China do not have all their vaccinations and as a result were having to get as many at 8 shots in one day when they are given their physicals just before coming home to the US.   In the Act that was passed yesterday by congress we can now as parents present a certified letter that states that we will make sure that they receive the necessary vaccinations within 30 days of entry into the US so that they don’t have to get them all at once right before they leave China.  It still could be a lot of shots in a short time span but this is much better than having them all in one day right after your entire world was turned upside down because you left the only home  you ever knew, are now with these strange people, who are speaking really weired, and are taking you to all these new places.  Thanks Congress!  This has already passed the Senate and should become law within 10 days :)

Here Comes Santa!

It’s time to get into the holiday spirit!  This morning Santa arrived at Northgate Mall via helicopter.

The Colerain Marching Band was there to greet him along with several hundred small children with their parents.  It was so much fun.  Once Santa landed in the parking lot the marching band escorted Santa into the mall and they paraded throughout the entire mall.

The band entering the mall.

Ariel playing her mellophone.

Patrick and I had the best time watching everything.  We had never seen anything like it and it was just so much fun!

Ariel’s Turn!

Today it was Ariel’s turn to get her physical for our home study.  She wasn’t at all excited to have to go to the doctors office and there was plenty of complaining at 1st but in the end she was a real trooper.  Ariel checked out great and we got all our paperwork we needed signed.  The bad news was that the doctor told Ariel that she was most likely done growing. The good news was that she measured in at 5′ 1/2″ which she was thrilled about.  She’s over 5′ and she can round up to 5′ 1″.

After the appointment Ariel and I had some time for some girl bonding!  We went shopping for makeup, made an appointment to have a family portrait done (for the Dossier), and then we had dinner together at Quaker Stake & Lube.  We feasted on hot pretzels, wings, and fried zucchini sticks.  It was all so yummy and it was great to have some girl time!  I really love my girl Ariel!  She’s an awesome daughter :)

What are we doing?

So I figured I’d do a post for a change.  Today we just completed our adoption parenting online course.  We each got PDF certificates emailed to us.  These are just 2 more pieces of paper that go into our giant bin of paperwork for the adoption.

The completion of the course now has me very worried that our child is going to have all kinds of issues with brain development, attachment, racism, cultural separation, isolation, etc all leading to problems that will be with him or her well into adulthood affecting his/her marriage, etc.

“What are we doing?” I asked my wife.  “Do you really want to screw up someone’s life like that?”

“We’ll be saving them from being put on the street,” she responded.

“But they could have all kinds of problems growing up with us White Devils,” I pointed out.

“I think that we can love them through all of that and be a positive force in their life,” she reasoned.

“OK.  Whatever.”

Here is an insightful video dealing with the racism that could wind up affecting our son or daughter:

Patrick

Directions to China

Go to Google Maps

Click on Get Directions.  Then tell it you want directions from Cincinnati, OH to Guangzhou China.  (Guangzhou is the city in China that all American adoption families need to travel to in order to finalize their US paper work for their adoption.)

Skim the directions and pay special attention to direction number 30.

This made me laugh so hard!

A Few Minor Set Backs

OK, so we’ve had a few very minor set backs this week.  First we will not be having our 1st home study visit tomorrow.  Our social worker found out that she had a meeting on Friday that she couldn’t reschedule and had to be at so we rescheduled our meeting with her for Monday, November 15.    Not the end of the world but I was looking forward to starting our meetings and getting that much closer to our home study being done.

On Monday I learned that our case worker with our adoption agency had gotten my local background check for our Dossier back from GA.  She had to request it for me because they would not give it to me unless I actually came into the police station and I had no intention of driving to Atlanta for a piece of paper.   When she requested the clearance she sent them a sample letter in hopes that they would retype it, put it on their letter head, fill in the correct information, notarize it, and then send it back.  Well, they just took the sample letter signed it and notarized it and then sent it back to us.  None of my information is on it and it’s basically a worthless piece of paper.  I had to laugh when I saw it, how in the world could they think that was what we needed.  They obviously didn’t read what they signed.  So I had to go onto plan B and called Dekalb County Police in GA.  They were awesome.  They are going to send me a packet along with finger print cards.  Then I just need to send it all back to them and they’ll send me a certified letter that states my criminal background clearance.   Oh how I wish I had called them 1st.  It would have saved me a couple of weeks in gathering this piece of paper.

Finally, we got Patrick’s employment letter yesterday from P&G.  As soon as I saw it I thought we might have a problem with the notary on the letter.  I sent it to our adoption case worker today and she agreed that the letter most likely would not work the way it was.  The letter was stamped and had the notary seal on it but they didn’t include any of the wording that stated that the notary was in witness to the person signing the letter.  Thus this would create problems for us later in the process.  So I retyped the letter and added the correct wording on the bottom of the letter for the notary to fill out along with the stamp and seal.  I sent the letter to Patrick and asked him to ask his HR rep to print the letter on letter head and then have that copy notarized.  Hopefully they’ll not have a problem doing this for us.

So this week has been a week of little set backs :(  But in the big picture these are really nothing to worry about.  We’re getting it done and moving forward!

Adoption Timeline
  • Summer 2010 - started talking about adoption
  • Aug 19, 2010 - participated in webinar
  • Sep 22, 2010 - mailed in adoption application
  • Sep 28, 2010 - adoption application accepted
  • Oct 8, 2010 - fingerprints for home study
  • Oct 14, 2010 - fire inspection done
  • Oct 25, 2010 - Patrick & Kimberly complete physicals for the adoption
  • Nov 4, 2010 - finished Heart of the Matters Parent Education
  • Nov 9, 2010 - Ariel's physical is completed
  • Nov 15, 2010 - 1st Home Study Visit
  • Dec 10, 2010 - Kimberly's Individual Interview with Social Worker
  • Dec 16, 2010 - Patrick & Ariel's Individual Interview with Social Worker
  • Dec 19, 2010 - Received rough draft of Home Study to review
  • Jan 7, 2011 - Received Final Home Study
  • Jan 7, 2011 - Sent I800A form into USCIS
  • Jan 18, 2011 - We see our son's face for the 1st time!
  • Jan 21, 2011 - Submit Letter of Intent to China
  • Jan 27, 2011 - Receive Pre-Approval from China
  • March 7, 2011 - I800a approval
  • March 24, 2011 - Dossier to China
  • April 2, 2011 - Log In Date
  • May 16, 2011 - LOA
  • June 2, 2011 - I800 Approval
  • June 10, 2011 - Cable sent by National Visa Center
  • June 13, 2011 - NVC Letter & final paper work sent to Agency!!!!
  • June 23, 2011 - Article 5 papers dropped off
  • July 8, 2011 - Article 5 pick up
  • July 19, 2011 - Travel Approval!!!!!!
  • August 15, 2011 - Forever Family Day!!!!!!
  • August 25, 2011 - Arrive home; Xander becomes a US citizen :)