Archive for July, 2011

3 & 3

I now have in my possession 3 passports & 3 visas.  One for each of us!  There is now nothing that stands in the way for Patrick, Ariel, and I to get on that plane and go meet Xander.

13 Days Until We Go!!!

New Pictures

Betty our adoption coordinator sent us an awesome surprise yesterday.

New pictures of Xander!

I might be biases, but I think he looks GREAT!  We also got new measurements with the pictures and he has stayed pretty much the same over the last 3 months so all the clothes I’ve got should work.  In other news I got Patrick’s and my passport/visa back from the Chinese Embassy yesterday.  Yay!!!  Ariel’s visa application was dropped off at the Embassy yesterday and will be picked up today.  So by the end of the week we should have it in hand and we’ll have nothing standing in the way of getting on a plane.  Speaking of getting on a plane… we leave for China 2 weeks from today.  We already have our flights booked.  It will be a 24 hour trip both ways with layovers in Detroit and Tokyo on the way to China.  On the way home we will leave from Hong Kong and have layovers in Toyko and Seattle.  Our agency is currently working on our in China travel itinerary and we should have it in a few days.

Over the weekend Patrick, Ariel, and I sat down together and created a packing list.  It’s 4 pages long!  We also created a list of things that need to be purchased before the trip.  My plan today is to knock out that list.  It’s a long one but I think I can do it :)

Someday Soon You’ll Be Our Son

This is a song I wrote for Xander back in May, but it has taken me a while to complete the recording. It still applies even now as we wait for the day we’ll finally get to meet our son and hold him in our arms.

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(If above player doesn’t work, use this link:  Someday Soon You’ll Be Our Son)

Blog comments fixed

Tonight my wife told me that the comments weren’t working on the blog site. Now I am telling her that it works. :)

Big News of the Day….

Ariel is going to China with us!!!

Early on in this adoption we realized that Ariel would most likely not be able to travel with us when the time came.  If the trip was during school we felt like it was too long to be away for her.  Then in the summer she volunteers at the zoo, gets to see her Mom a lot more, and has 2 weeks of band camp which she really couldn’t miss if she wanted to march this year.

Well yesterday the dates of our trip were confirmed as Aug 10th- Aug. 25th.  When we looked at the calendar we realized that these dates would actually work for Ariel to come with us.  She will be done with band camp the week before and school doesn’t start until Aug 30.  She will miss some band rehearsals but not miss any football games and still have 2 weeks once she gets home before the 1st band competition.    Last night Patrick and I called Ariel and asked her if she wanted to go to China with us.  After thinking it all through and talking with her Mom she said yes!

We are so happy that she is going to be going with us.  We’ve always felt bad that she would most likely miss this trip.  It will be so nice to have her there and have her help Xander see what it’s like to be a kid in the McCoy family.  We are also thankful for the chance now to bond as a family of 4 away from all the craziness that is our life in the fall.  This is going to be a trip of a lifetime and it just got better because Ariel will be there with us!

Now I’ve got 1 more thing to add to my to do list…

Get a visa for Ariel :)

The Call

Yesterday was one crazy day for me.  The nervousness and excitement really started on Monday night when I saw on one of the forums for adoptive parents I”m on that people with agencies on the west coast were getting their TA’s.  I knew from past experience that our agency usually got their packages from China the day after the west coast agencies so I knew that we had a chance that our TA could come in on Tuesday.  However, I really didn’t think it was a very good chance because we hadn’t been waiting that long.

Then on Tuesday morning when I logged onto the same forum I realized that people who had Article 5 pick up dates the day before us had gotten their TA and that it really was possible that our TA had been issued too.  Now that was at 7:30 am and I knew I wouldn’t hear from our agency until the afternoon if it had come in.  I was a nervous mess all morning.  Logically I knew it shouldn’t really come because it hadn’t been long enough but I just had this overwhelming feeling that it was going to be the day.  It was so hard not to get my hopes up.

Then it finally happened; just before 2pm I got a phone call and it was our agency.  Our wonderful adoption coordinator said hi and I asked right away if this was good news.  Betty said, “I hope your sitting down because I have no idea how we got this so quickly but I am holding your TA.”  I can’t explain the feelings that rushed over me in that moment… relief, joy, excitement, fear, and nervousness all mixed together.  I was trying to listen to what she was saying and at the same time trying not to sob over the phone right in her ear.   We talked for a few mins about the next steps and travel dates and then when I hung up the phone I just broke into tears of joy and relief.  We are going to get our little boy!!!!

After I pulled myself together I then immediately tried to call, email, IM Patrick to tell him the good news.  None of these methods resulted in me being able to contact him so I knew he must have been in a meeting.  I was just bursting with joy and couldn’t wait to tell Patrick (and the rest of the world for that matter) the good news but it just wasn’t happening.  So I had to just cool it and wait.  Thankfully about 45 mins later Patrick called me back and I was able to tell him our news.    Then I called the rest of our family and share with them as well.

Last night we also got to celebrate with our small group bible study.  It was just the perfect night because they had already decided a few weeks ago to throw us a shower last night to celebrate Xander coming home.    We were able to go in and share our great news for the day and then just have fun together.  It was Patrick’s 1st shower ever and he decided to dress up for it and wear his tuxedo t-shirt for the occasion.  It was the perfect end to the day and Patrick even thought the shower was fun.  The other amazing thing about the shower was how perfect the gifts were that we received.  We ended up getting something from each person there that filled a need we had.  I’ve been making a mental list of some things that we need before we travel or would be really nice to have when we get home and the gifts we got last night fell into those slots perfectly.

Travel Approval!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We’re going to China!  More details to come soon :)

Possibilities

Yesterday I emailed our agency to tell them that we will not be traveling early for business :(  Betty emailed us back with some interesting news about possibilities for travel!  She shared with us that our agency has urged those in charge to send our TA soon :)  Our agency has 6 families who are due to get their TA’s and our agency is pushing to have our TA’s issued before August 1st!  She also shared that our agency already has a family scheduled to travel starting on August 10th and another one on August 24th and she’s hoping that they can add the other families waiting for TA to one of those trips so we can travel as a group.  We would LOVE to be a part of the Aug. 10th travel group.  It would mean that we’d be in China soon and get back home before Ariel starts school which would be perfect for us!

Side note about Aug. 1st and TA’s:

There is another reason it would be nice to have our TA issued before Aug. 1st.  This spring China announced that they would be changing the number of required post placement reports that families submit to them from 2 to 6.  The new requirements will be for families who have their TA’s issued after Aug. 1, 2011.  In the grand scheme of things Patrick and I aren’t really sweating the reports and if we have to do all 6 that’s fine with us.  We like our social worker and it just means we will be seeing a lot more of her for the next 6 years.  However, it would be nice to only have to do 2 :)

I’m really feeling like it will come in the next 2 weeks and with our agency also encouraging the powers that be to make it happen I’m feeling pretty good about it.  Hoping for a phone call soon!!!!!!!

6 Days Waiting for TA

Well tomorrow we hit the 1 week mark of waiting for TA and I’m starting to get anxious.  I really want to get our TA and be on our way to China!  The fastest I’ve seen a family get TA (without it being expedited for medical or age reasons) is 10 days.  So starting next week we will be in the area of it could come.  There have also been several families recently that have gotten their TA’s in 14 days which is just a week away for us :)  The next week or two could be very long for me…  this wait is getting hard!

This week has brought some changes in our plans for travel…  Going into this week we were about 85% sure that we’d be going a week early so Patrick could work.  Now we are about 95% sure that we will NOT be doing this :(  All of a sudden we found out that all the new hires he was going to be training will most likely be here in the US while we are in China.  Thus making it very hard for Patrick to train them!  I have to admit we were frustrated when we heard this but in the big picture it’s not the end of the world.  It would have been really nice to combine the work trip and the adoption trip because P&G would have then paid for Patrick’s airfare.  But now we don’t have to worry about trying to line up both trips and can just travel at the 1st possible date when we get our TA.  We are not sure what will happen with Patrick’s work trip now; it’s possible that he might have to fly back to China in the fall to do the training.  We’re both hoping that this will not have to happen.

Today, I sent off our visa applications to our courier that helped us with our Dossier this spring.  We’ve been holding off on getting our visas because if Patrick was going to work he would have needed a work visa instead of a travel visa.  But with it looking like the work trip wasn’t going to happen we decided to just go ahead and get our visas.   I didn’t want to wait any longer because our TA could come next week and I didn’t want to run into travel problems because we didn’t have our visas.  So today I mailed off our passports, new passport size pictures of us, and our applications to our courier so she can bring them into the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. next week to be processed.  If all goes well she will be able to pick them up next Thursday and we should have them by next weekend.  I have to say it’s VERY nerve racking to send off your passports when you know you are going to be needing them very soon.  USPS has treated us very well during this adoption so far and I hope they don’t let us down now!  So if you get a chance say a little prayer for us that all goes well with our visas and we have them and our passports back next weekend.

The Final Wait Begins…

Last night while we slept our Article 5 was picked up by our agency.  Now all of our paperwork is making it’s way to the China Adoption Affairs office so they can issue our travel approval.  I can’t believe we are finally to that point!  Right now the average wait for TA is 21 days.  So hopefully by the end of July we’ll have our TA and will be making our travel arrangements.  I’ve seen a few families get their TA’s recently in 10 – 14 days so really it could come anytime after next week!

I guess it’s time to get serious about looking at packing lists and starting to gather all the things we’ll need for travel.  It’s looking like we’ll be in China for 3 weeks total.  P&G is hoping to send Patrick to China for work the week before our adoption trip.  I’m going to go with him and just spend the extra time exploring Beijing.   As of right now it looks like the work trip will happen and it should work out great combining the 2 trips.  Our agency usually sends families to Beijing 1st for a few days so they can adjust to the new time zone and do some sight seeing.  Then you fly to your child’s providence on Sunday.  So we’ll just fly into Beijing the week before if he’s going to work, meet up with our agency in Beijing at the end of the week, and then continue onto Xander’s providence on Sunday for the adoption trip.

Next thing on our to do list, besides nervously waiting for the phone to right with news of our TA, is to apply for our Visa so we can enter into China!

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 :)