Saturday, October 29, 2011

October Updates | Photos

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Well, today I received another lovely surprise from LadybugsNLove -- photos of our little guy at almost 15 months! We immediately noticed his oversized green sweater as it's obviously about 5 sizes too big for him! Don't you just want to kiss those chubby little cheeks?

Friday, October 28, 2011

October Updates of Our Little Man

Last Wednesday, I visited LadybugsNLove to purchase an Orphanage Phone Call. With this service, you can ask 10 questions plus updates on your child (usually on height, weight, number of teeth, foot size, head circumference, and chest size). You will most likely receive updated photos of your child as well.

Earlier today, I received an email from LadybugsNLove, which included answers to my 10 questions! Weeeee! Henry is doing well; he likes to play with other children; he can "roll over expertly" (lol); he has good appetite; he can say "baba" and "mamma"; and he is an "active lively little man" (yay!). No pictures yet but they will probably come later (something else to look forward to!). I'm also happy to report that Henry has gained 6 lbs and grown about an inch taller since his last update in September.

Although the care package that I sent last month arrived safely at the orphanage, unfortunately, Henry has not personally received it because he is still in the therapy center. I'm sad that he hasn't been given his blanket or shown photos of his parents (and dog) but I'm told he will get it soon.

No worries -- still a happy day!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fingerprints - check!

Badda-bing, badda-boom. We had an 11am appointment at the Sugar Land office but due to almost-zero traffic, we arrived 20 minutes early and noticed just a handful of people in the waiting area. We filled in a simple form, checked in, and by the time we sat back down, my husband's number was next! Seconds later, my number popped up! We left with five minutes to our actual appointment time. All-in-all, it took a total of 15 minutes - and we didn't even need to take out our reading material (FYI: no cell phones allowed)! When we were there last year -- on a Tuesday, with a 12pm appointment -- it took an hour and a half because it was so busy!

Since my officer was in a good mood, I decided to ask about walk-ins. He said "it depends." It depends how busy they are, and it depends how many walk-ins they receive. If three couples had walked in that day, he added, they may have to turn away the third couple. He even warned, "Don't use 'work' as your excuse either. Everyone has to work. If you have some kind of emergency, we will try to accommodate you."

What's next? We will be assigned an officer to our case and s/he will review our Home Study update and fingerprints. If everything looks great, they will issue us with an Approval Notice. Right now, I don't know how long it will take (and it took only 10 days last year) but I will be stalking our postmaster once again.

One step closer to our Little Man!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fingerprint Appointment Notice!

So, I was practically running to our mailbox and visualizing the unmistakable envelopes from the USCIS, and voila, there they were! (It works sometimes.) Eeeeek! Our biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment has been scheduled for next Friday, October 21 - only a week away! Since my husband, Dave, has a day off work tomorrow, we're considering a walk-in, so he doesn't have to take the morning off work next week. I've heard that a north location in Houston has allowed walk-ins so we'll see if the Sugar Land office will allow it, too. If not, then "hey, we were just passing by, never mind!" and stick to our original appointment.

I opened my husband's letter to double-check his social security # as it was incorrect last time, and to my surprise, it was still wrong. I called my husband to deliver the good news but to also report the error. As I was ranting on about the USCIS, I decided to check and open our I-800A PDF file. Crap. It was my fault; it was MY fault! I had copied and pasted the majority of our information from the OLD I-800A to the new form but neither of us caught the error on both forms! (Okay, let's blame me because I'm responsible for all our adoption paperwork.)

I'm not going to freak out because the USCIS officers took care of it at our appointment date last year. I know I triple-checked every piece of information on our forms but I guess I overlooked Dave's SS#. Urgh.

Okay, let's see how the walk-in goes tomorrow (if we decide to be brave....or, stupid?).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Project nesting

We started "nesting" this weekend! Very exciting but also exhausting! To get Henry's room ready, we had to clear out the guest room. Our biggest item was the queen-size bed, which was a bit of a struggle for just the two of us (I'm only 5'-0"). While I cried "baby Jesus" all the way down, and broke only two fingernails, we finally managed to negotiate the mattress and box spring down four very tight flights of stairs. After that came the tall book shelf, an old chest of drawers, and multiple boxes of books and junk - ouch, ouch, ouch!

So, Henry's room is now a nice blank canvas! I think one of the most difficult nesting decisions I've made is figuring out what type of crib to purchase! :O Henry will be 17-18 months by the time he comes home so we decided on one of those crib-to-toddler convertible cribs. Man, there are hundreds out there! Using the process of elimination, I ruled out a bunch of features (i.e. crib type, finish, style and price) and managed to finally narrow down to two cribs and bought one online - yay!

Anyway, I don't have a theme yet and it may remain theme-less, but I'll wait until the rest of Henry's furniture arrives! Can't wait! Oh, and I'm HOPING to find a lovely letter (or fingerprinting appointment) from the USCIS next week.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Receipt Notice for I-800A

My main goal today was to return our signed LOA package to our agency by Express Mail so they can send it back to CCCWA. The agency also requested that we send them our completed I-800 and I-864W forms so they can send them off to USCIS once we receive our Approval Notice. Thanks to China Adoption Online, I managed to fill out most of the USCIS forms by myself. When I finally received detailed instructions from the agency, I corrected a couple of sections, drove to my husband's work to get one more signature, made copies of everything (double-sided, of course), and mailed out the package. Oh, and we included in the package a set of agency release forms signed and notarized to get a head-start on our next set of checklist documents! Phew!

I was also relieved to receive our receipt Notice from the USCIS to confirm that our I-800A application has been received and is in process. We now have to wait for our biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment but as soon as the Appointment Notice arrives, we're going to try to walk in early (probably at the Sugar Land location). I've heard mixed responses on my Yahoo Groups: some say it doesn't make a difference, and others say it does! We're going to give it a shot because we can't file for our I-800 until we receive the Approval Notice. We'll just take our books or magazines as they don't allow you to enter their building with any electronic devices!

Anyway, I haven't found any comments on whether or not it's "slightly faster" when refiling the I-800A the second time around since we've filed once before and have account numbers with USCIS. I just hope it's not going to be a huge delay. :(