Archive for February, 2011

Picking a Name…

Before we got a referral we had always hoped that we would be able to just keep our child’s name as their Chinese name, however, we also knew that some Chinese names would be difficult to say.  Then we got our referral and soon learned that saying Zi Xuan correctly is very difficult for us westerners.  So we set out as a family (Patrick, Ariel, and I) to pick an American 1st name for our little guy.

Patrick is the master of spreed sheets and soon there was an excel spread sheet on our computer that was beginning to compile all the names we each liked.  There were really no rules, anyone could add a name to the list and it would be considered.  This went on for about 3 weeks and we created a list of 40 names.

We decided that we’d narrow the list down by each of us picking our top 5 names.  We all took a day or 2 to think about our favorite names and on Valentines Day we each sat down and blindly picked (meaning we couldn’t see what anyone else picked)  our top 5 names.  When we did this we also got to veto 2 names off the list which meant those names were now out of the running.  After we revealed the results of this round we were left with 12 names.  We then each had the opportunity to veto 1 more name off of the list which brought us down to 9 names.

At that point we thought about just stopping for the night and not making any more decisions.  But after we talked about the 9 names left each of us knew what our top 3 names were  so we decided to go ahead and each pick our top 3 and see what would happen.  The results after we each picked our top 3 names were:

2 names with 1 vote each

2 names with 2 votes each

And 1 name with 3 votes!

I couldn’t believe it… we had a name that all 3 of us liked and voted for!  We talked about the name for a little while longer and decided we’d live with the name for a week and see if we all still liked it.  After a week of using this name we all decided this was the name!  So we are happy to introduce you to our son…

Xander Zi-Xuan McCoy



Safe & Sound

Today we received back from the courier all of our Dossier documents that we had sent out to be certified by the State Department and the Chinese Embassy.  It’s such a relief to have all of these documents back to us safe and sound and ready to go to China.  We are so close now to be ready to send our Dossier to China (DTC).  Hopefully just a few more weeks.

When I opened our package this is what I saw…

Each paper has stapled to the front of it a document from the State Department.

Then on the back of the document from the State Department there is something from the Chinese Embassy.

I had help :)

Over the weekend Ariel helped me out with painting Zi Xuan’s room.  It’s coming along!

She's got the steady hand.

Just call me the Rolling Queen!

Fingerprints & George Clooney!

This morning Patrick and I went down to the USCIS office in Cincinnati to get fingerprinted for our I800a application.  Our appointment was for 9am but we got there early hoping that they would take us sooner because Patrick had a 10am meeting for work.   The women in the office were very nice and took us right away.  Patrick had a small cut on his thumb from putting drywall up this weekend in the basement but after looking at it under a magnifying glass they decided it wouldn’t interfere with his fingerprint (they hoped).  We were in and out of the office in about 10 minutes and it was such a great experience.  It was so nice to go in and have the people who work there seem so happy and nice!

On our way back to our cars we saw George Clooney in Fountain Square filming a scene for his new movie.  It was pretty cool to see everything and George Clooney was right there in front of us!  Maybe 20 feet away at most.  We couldn’t stay long and didn’t actually see them shoot anything but it was still very cool.

All in all, it was a great morning!

Painting!

This week I turned my focus onto our little guys room!  We’ve found an awesome room decal kit called Funberry Farm and are excited to turn his room into a farm yard!  The decals came in a few weeks ago and last weekend we picked the colors for the grass and sky.

I started painting this week and I have to say it feels GREAT to be working on his room.  I’ve done a lot of work so far to bring him home but this is the 1st thing I’ve done that actually makes it feel like he is really real and will be here someday.  I love seeing the changes to his room as I paint and it’s great to have something very tangible in our house now that says someday he will be here and a part of our life.

By the end of today I had done all 3 coats of green paint (our walls just seem to need 3 coats of paint, ugh) and 1 coat of blue for the sky.  It looks great so far and I can’t wait to get the main colors finished!

The OH Document Tour

This week I set about to get all of our OH documents notary certified and then authenticated at the Sectary of State’s office.  We had documents for OH that had notaries from Hamilton, Butler, and Madison counties.  So Monday morning I set off for the court house in Cincinnati to get all of our Hamilton county documents notary certified.  I’m glad I had been through jury duty last spring because I already knew my way around the court house and that made everything so much easier.  It took all of 10 minutes to get all 6 documents done and I was out of there.  In fact it took way longer to find a parking spot downtown than to get all of our documents certified… go figure :)

On Wednesday I drove up to Hamilton to the Butler County court house.  I had never been there before but it was very easy to find.  As I drove up there were several open parking meters right in front of the court house, yay!  As I walked into the court house there was an information desk and they told me exactly where the clerk of courts office was and in no time I had my home study notary certified.

Friday morning I got up nice and early and started off on my journey to get my final 2 documents notary certified and then I would head in to Columbus to visit the Sectary of State.  For our OH background checks I had to go to the Madison county court house which is in London, OH.  I had never been to London, OH before.  It’s this cute little town about an 1/2 hour southwest of Columbus.  The court house was awesome, it must have been about 200 years old.  When I entered the Clerk of Courts office there were 4 women sitting there.  Now in the other counties I had some one who looked up the notaries and then they had a stamp with the Clerk of Courts signature on it and they then stamped my certification.  Well not in this office :)  There was the Clerk of Courts sitting right there and once someone else had gotten my paperwork all ready she signed it all herself.  Gotta love small towns!

After I was done in London, OH I drove into Columbus to the Sectary of State’s office.  It was right in the middle of downtown and I again got lucky finding a parking space right out front at a meter.  When I entered the building I had to show my drivers license and then I was given a special visitor pass so I could enter the Sectary’s offices.  Someone came out and looked at all my documents and said they would be back in about 10 minutes with them all done.  It was so simple and now all my OH documents are ready for the Chinese Embassy!

After the Sectary of State’s office I drove up to visit with Laura (my sister in law) and           Kal-el (my nephew).  It was so much fun to hang out with them!  It was also kind of crazy to see Kal-el because he is 1 year younger than Zi Xuan but he is the same size and a few pounds heaver than him.  I can’t believe I have a son who is just Kal-el’s size!  I can’t wait to get this little guy home!!!

Our papers are now traveling to Washington, DC!

With all of our OH documents now authenticated it meant that we were ready to send our Dossier (minus one document) to Washington DC to be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy.  This morning I sent our Dossier and a copy of it to a courier who will hand deliver it 1st to the US State Department so that they can affix their seal upon each document.  Then the courier will bring the Dossier to the Chinese Embassy so that they too can authenticate each document.  Once the Chinese Embassy’s seal is upon each document they will be ready to send to China!  Can you believe it… our great paper chase is almost done!!!!!

Now on a side note…

We still have 1 document missing from our Dossier, the approval from the US government to bring a child into the country (ie our I800a form).  Patrick and I will be finger printed on 2/23 and after than we will be eligible to get this approval.  I would love for us to get this approval on the day we get finger printed but from what I’ve been hearing it’s taking 7 weeks from when they received your paper work until you get your approval.  So that would put us into the beginning of march but I’m hoping they speed up here and we get it sooner.  Once we get this approval I’ll have to run it through the same steps as the other Dossier documents before it will be ready to go to China but I think I’ll be able to do that within a week thanks to over night mail.

Here’s to getting our Dossier to China in March!

Ashley & Rebekah to the Rescue!!!

I have been working on getting all of our Dossier documents state certified so that they can get sent into the Chinese Embassy to get their seal on them too.  In this process I ran into all sorts of trouble getting my GA background check state certified.  The biggest problem was that I wasn’t sure who specifically to send it to and how much each seal would cost.  The extent of what I knew was that the document needed to go to the DeKalb county Clerk of Court’s office 1st and then it needed to go onto the Sectary of State’s office for their seal.  Every time I called either of these offices the person I needed to speak with didn’t answer their phone and they NEVER called me back.  It was so frustrating.

This is where Ashley & Rebekah came to my rescue :)  Ashley went to seminary with me and his wife Rebekah and I were running partners while I was living in Decatur.  On a side note… it was Rebekah that convinced me to run a 1/2 marathon with her & I’m so glad she did, it was awesome.  Anyway, they still live in Decatur and they agreed to take my background check into these offices and get the appropriate seals for me.

On attempt #1, Ashley took the certified copy of my DeKalb county police report into the county clerks office.  They looked at it and said he needed to get this other document notarized that swore that my original certified copy of the background check was a true copy of the original document.  He called me to tell me this and this just sounded crazy to me because what he was holding was the original copy.  After talking about it we decided that he would just take it down to the Sectary of State’s office on his way to school that night and see what they said.  I got a call later that night from him and he had another form that needed to be notarized which basically was saying that the person signing the form swore that the background check was the original copy given to me.

Well this present a new little wrinkle.  This new form had to be notarized in GA and preferably in DeKalb county which would be an 8 hr drive one way for me.  So Rebekah called a lawyer who goes to the church that she works at to see if Ashley could sign this new form on my behalf.  The lawyer thought that would work out fine.

The next day Ashley went in for attempt #2.  He went to a notary 1st so he could sign the new document and basically swear that my background check was the original document.  Now at 1st the notary thought this was strange and wasn’t sure she should notarize it.  But Ashely reminder her that she wasn’t saying that this was true just that Ashely really was the person signing this form; so then she did it.  Then he walked up to the clerk of court’s office and they certified that the notary was really a notary in their county.  Then Ashely went down the the Sectary of States office and they affixed their State Seal upon all the documents.  Yay!!!  Isn’t it pretty…

It really cracks me up that it says… By his Excellency Nathan Deal  :)  We also found it really funny that in reality what all these certifications and seals are really attesting to is that Ashely said my document was real and not basing it off the fact that the document had been certified by the DeKalb county police at all.  Oh well, I checked with my adoption agency and they said that as long as the State Seal if attached to it then it really doesn’t matter how or why it got there.  So it sounds like we are good on this one :)

Thanks Ashley and Rebekah!!!  I couldn’t have done it without you!  You all are the best!

Learning Zhōng wén (Chinese Language)

For our birthdays, Kimberly and I decided to get each other lessons to learn Mandarin. This was on my Christmas List for 2010 but I didn’t get it. :( We had first looked into Rosetta Stone but read some reviews that said that it took a Latin-language approach to learning an Asian language which didn’t work too well. We read about another alternative called Fluenz, but after looking at a sample lesson on youtube were turned off that the person teaching Mandarin is a white American. By chance, we happened upon another video on youtube of a young lady named Yang Yang Cheng who teaches Mandarin lessons in Los Angeles and has her own website with video lessons, audio lessons, etc available in addition to private or group lessons.

We loved her videos and her enthusiasm and felt that she was a much better teacher. So, we bought her Pinyin DVD and her first level of audio lessons and workbook and are now learning all about Mandarin. We also rented a movie, “To Live” that she recommended (an excellent movie, but it was a somewhat sad drama but covered a nice history of China in the 20th century). We also bought an English-Mandarin dictionary and a couple of books on the culture of China also recommended by Yang Yang. All in all, we spent WAY less than we would have on Rosetta Stone or Fluenz yet feel like we are getting a more quality result.

To date, we are learning about the four tones and some of the vowel sounds of Mandarin so that we can have a good foundation in properly pronouncing words. We aren’t learning very fast but are enjoying it. We already know how to say “I Love You” and are eager to say this to Lín Zĭ Xuán when we travel to see him for the first time.

We also are quite aware that Lín Zĭ Xuán might speak Cantonese instead of Mandarin since he is from the southern part of China, but whatever. I love learning languages and am eager to learn as much as I can before our trip.

Finally, we found another cool website that is able to take traditional Chinese characters, translate this into pinyin for us and provide the proper tones, and also provides and audio pronunciation. We used this to learn how to properly pronounce our son’s name: Lín Xuán. Also, we’d like everyone to be aware that Lín is his last name, not his first name. His first name is actually 2 words: Zĭ Xuán. He doesn’t have a middle name.

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 :)