Friday, September 30, 2011

Meet our Little Prince, Henry

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The first two images are two of the five photos given to us by our agency. The last image is a collage of the screenshots I took from the video clips that I believe was made in early September 2011. Currently, Henry is 14 months old and waiting in Xuchang SWI, Henan Province for his proud parents to take him home to Houston, Texas. When he's ready, we will take a trip to England to meet the rest of our families! Oh, we love our little guy!

We have LOA! (Letter of Acceptance)

Eeek! I'm so excited!! Oh my goodness, this was such a lovely surprise! I did NOT expect to receive our LOA this soon as it has been only 8 days since PA. I know people who have been waiting on average between 40-100+ days after PA (and I know most families received their LIDs within the last few months), so I asked my agency if they would kindly offer an explanation. Since I was given permission to share the info, you will find their message below. Okay, it's time to post pictures of our son! :D
Sep. 29, 2011
The very first step when a dossier is received is to send it out to the translation company - you may have heard this name - Bridge of Love Adoption Services (often abbreviated BLAS). They do all the translations of dossiers.

If your dossier arrives in China ALREADY matched with a Waiting Child, then the dossier is marked as "expedited", so when it arrives at BLAS, they translate it right away, send it back to the CCCWA, and the CCCWA reviews it right away - so those families usually receive their LOAs in 1-2 months after their LID.

However, if your dossier arrives in China WITHOUT a Waiting Child match, the dossier is sent to BLAS and waits its turn in line behind all the other traditional program dossiers.

On the CCCWA's intraweb (i.e., the Shared List), they post two very important dates: The first is the date up to which they've matched the traditional program (which is currently LIDs through July 28, 2006). The second date is also very important: this is the date up to which they've REVIEWED dossiers (i.e., the LID through which they've had the dossier translated, received back from BLAS, and reviewed). Currently, that date is November 30, 2010.

So, for all families who have an LID earlier than November 30, 2010, that means their dossier is literally just sitting at the CCCWA, awaiting a match. Some of these families will continue to wait in line for their traditional match, while others like yourselves may switch to the Waiting Child program.

So, since your dossier was logged in before Nov 30, 2010 (your LID is in August of 2010), the CCCWA didn't have to do a thing - they saw you were matched, your dossier was already translated and reviewed, and they issued your LOA nearly immediately.

Now, for families with LIDs LATER than Nov 30, 2010, their dossier is still probably being translated or in the review room at the CCCWA. If matched with a Waiting Child, these families wait the longest for their LOAs. Once the CCCWA issues pre-approval, they contact BLAS, ask for them to speed up the translation for that dossier now that the family has been matched, and then they have to review it once they get the translation back. Those families are the ones waiting forever, often 3, 4, or even 5 months for their LOA (from the point in time they were matched).

Hopefully that helps clear up some confusion! Feel free to educate the other moms on your Yahoo Group! :)
Great explanation!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mail-Out: First Care Packages and I-800A (again)!

I had so much fun preparing our first care package to our little boy, Henry! Since we're not sure if he'll actually get to play with the toys or wear the T-shirt, we wanted to send just a few things for now. I'll be happy if he receives his helicopter baby blanket (that I've been sleeping with) and his photo album so he can get used to our faces. In his album, I also printed (on glossy photo paper) three of the photos that the agency gave us so he can look at his own baby pictures. I'm not sure if we'll get this back either so I took a short video clip of the album. I also hope the agency will take plenty of photos of Henry with the disposable camera and return it to us on Gotcha Day.

The Easy Peel White Mailing Labels (Avery 8167 for Return Address) are very useful to label both the camera with your child's name, and the photos inside the album. Our agency provided some useful words and phrases ("mother," "father," "our dog") in Chinese so I copied and pasted some of them several times into Word. I also looked for some of the words on this Translate-to-Chinese site as the agency's copy was a little pixellated. I just had to make sure the characters matched!

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These items were included in the second care package for the orphanage: random T-shirts and onesies, socks for kids of different ages, plastic bibs, stickers, cookies for the nannies, and a pen for the Orphanage Director. I read on one of the Yahoo Groups to also pay attention to the Director as s/he is ultimately in charge of your child.

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My USPS "shoebox" boxes haven't arrived yet so I went to Target and bought some small Scotch Mailing Boxes (11.25" x 8.75" x 4") - they're PERFECT! Just roll what you can! I got quite emotional packing my son's toys as this is our first connection with him. Sniff, sniff. As recommended by our agency, I also included in both boxes a copy of our PA and a translated letter provided by the agency.

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The package for our son weighed 1 lb. 15.2 oz and cost $18.55 for First Class postage from Houston to China. The second package for the orphanage weighed 2 lbs. 11.8 oz and cost $23.92. Not bad at all! The Express Mail envelope on top of the boxes includes our I-800A package to be refiled with the USCIS - finally!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

We have PA (Pre-Approval)!

Received the email as I was waiting in line at the post office and I jumped up and down like I was the only one there - ha! From my agency: "A pre-approval is essentially the CCCWA’s acknowledgement or confirmation that [our] Letter of Intent has been received" - woo-hoo! My agency said we can now start sending care packages to our little guy - can't wait to shop for him! I will probably include something for the nannies and other children at Xuchang SWI, Henan Province. :)

Our Updated Home Study should also be arriving any day so I can finally re-file our I-800A. Next: Letter of Acceptance (LOA)....hopefully, soon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Look what I found!

I bought this super soft toy from Takashimaya, NY online (I believe it's closed now) back in April 2008 to be saved for our first child. I'm so happy that we can finally take it out of its box and give it to our little prince when we travel to China!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Letter of Intent submitted to China!

Yay! One down, several more steps to go! Can't stop thinking about our son :). As soon as we receive our LOA, I'm going to inquire about one of those "orphanage phone calls" to obtain some updates on him (if possible). This waiting around is soooo hard and I think we won't be traveling until January of 2012 :(.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Here we go!

Very excited to start this blog about our adoption journey to pick up our gorgeous son in China. This fabulous felt-made bauble is all I would like to show until we receive our LOA (Letter of Acceptance), or if I just can't contain myself, then maybe PA (Pre-Approval)!

We received our LID (Log-In-Date) on August 24, 2010 but one year later, we decided to officially switch to the Waiting Child Program (WCP) because we can't wait another 3-4+ years. Life is short. Here we go - weeeeeeee!