Tuesday, December 20, 2011

First and Last Birthday as an Orphan

This morning we finally received our new pictures of Princess Petals!  Still no smiles - she really looks utterly confused by everything going on around her!  But on the bright side it appears she hasn't had a hair cut in a while!  Still holding out hope that they will let it grow during the cooler weather.  







...really looking forward to February and making that little girl smile...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cabbage Patch Kids & Cake

I have been searching and searching for an Asian Cabbage Patch doll for Princess Petals.  I found one when I first started looking but she had a goofy tooth filled grin so I decided to keep looking not realizing how hard it would be to find another.  We live in an area with a pretty big Asian population so I guess they either sell quickly or the stores just aren't ordering many.  We drove to southern Ohio this weekend which is a halfway point to get together for an early Christmas with Jon's family. I ran out to Target to get a couple of things and hit the doll section like always...I couldn't believe my eyes...SIX Asian CPKs and they were $10 off!!!  I had too many options and not enough time to ponder so I bought three and plan to make up my mind later!  How fun to find her doll on her birthday!  Now I just have to decide which doll to keep and if we should remove its right hand to make it look like her as has been suggested by some other parents of limb difference kids...hmmm...

Happy 1st Birthday sweet girl!!!  We had our own little celebration for you here and hope you enjoyed your special day with your nannies and crib mates!

Friday, December 16, 2011

...refresh...refresh...refresh...

China is 12 hours ahead of us so right now it is 9:30 in the morning on December 17 over there...which means today is Princess Petals' first birthday.  I have been feeling surprisingly a little sad all day for two reasons.  First, I am sad to be missing out on spending her first birthday with her.  I wish that we could be with her and celebrate as a family as we have with our boys.  And second, more than anything, I am sad for the other woman who must also be thinking about Princess Petals today - her birth mother.  I don't know why she was abandoned...we can make assumptions that it had to do with her gender or her limb difference, but really we can never know the true reason.  I have to believe in my heart that this child was loved dearly and that her mother still mourns the loss - especially today.  We are so fortunate to have been able to send her a birthday care package and to be expecting pictures via email of her with the cake we sent.  I am hoping to get a little glimpse of her by Monday...waiting, waiting, waiting... 

So here's some good news: we have completed two more steps towards Princess Petals' adoption! First, our I-800 was approved December 7th by USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) which means that she has been approved to become a US citizen upon entry.  Our USCIS officer forwarded all of our information on to the NVC (National Visa Center) so she can get entered into their system.  

Second, the NVC sent us their approval letter which means she is in their system as of December 15th.  We forwarded that letter on to our agency and they forwarded it to their contact in who will walk it into the US Embassy in China.

What's next you ask?  We were told that once the US Embassy has our packet they will issue our Article 5 in about two weeks.  That is Princess Petals' pre-approval to receive an immigrant visa.  Once the Article 5 has been issued our agency's contact will pick it up and deliver it to the CCCWA (China Center for Childrens Welfare and Adoption).  Once the CCCWA has this document they will issue our TA (Travel Approval) in 2-4 weeks...so many steps but we are getting so close... 

Happy 1st Birthday to our sweet baby girl!  I hope your nannies shower you with love today and take lots of pictures for us.  I can promise you that I will be hitting the refresh button on my email regularly for the next few days as we wait not so patiently for pictures...refresh...refresh...refresh...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Truly Amazing Unbelievable News

Today at church our pastor asked us to turn to the people around us and tell them some unbelievable news.  I didn't hear what he said though because I was daydreaming about my baby girl half a world away.  All of the sudden everyone starts talking and I am embarrassed because I have no idea what is going on!  I admit to the couple behind me that I was momentarily zoned out and the woman said, "we're supposed to tell each other something amazing, we're not sure what to share though."  I smiled and said, "well I was just day dreaming about my daughter.  We're adopting an orphan from China!"  I hadn't thought about it that way before, but it is truly amazing, unbelievable news!  I think back to October 2010 when we first got the idea put in our heads to adopt internationally and all the emotions and fears I wrestled with as we started the process, and now here I am pining away for this child wishing I could get on a plane tomorrow.  I can't imagine not adopting this beautiful, precious, tiny baby girl that is changing my life.  I am so thankful to God for touching our hearts and opening our eyes to see what lies on the other side of our world.  I am thankful for the complete release from my sorrow over infertility and my tremendous joy at discovering the blessing of special needs adoption.

Princess Petals' 1st birthday is coming up and we just placed an order through Ladybugs'n'Love for a birthday celebration at her orphanage.  They will receive a cake, disposable camera, candy and nuts and some age appropriate books.  I wish we could have been there for her birthday.  We are hoping for pictures of her with a big birthday cake.  I'm wondering if they've shaved her hair off again or are letting it grow out as the weather cools off a little.  We will be having our own little party for her with Jon's family while we celebrate an early Christmas with them.  Here is what we sent in addition to the cake:
We mailed our I800 paperwork to USCIS on Friday, November 18.  It was received on Monday the 21st and processed on Wednesday the 23rd.  I am hoping, hoping, hoping that we receive our approval sometime next week.  Now THAT would be an awesome birthday present and make our celebration that much more joyous! 

Current time in the US: 2:58 PM 
Current time in Huazhou, China: 2:58 AM

Current temperatures in the US: high 52, low 39 
Current temperatures in Huazhou, China: high 80, low 66