Friday, March 26, 2010

Quick update

Found out today that our paperwork has not been received in Guangzhou yet. It's been out of our hands since 3/11, and they haven't received it yet. The U.S. Consulate needs to receive our immigration approval along with our Letter of Acceptance from China, before they can issue our Article 5. And we need our Article 5 before China will grant us our travel approval. And we need travel approval before our agency can schedule a consulate appointment for us. And we have to have the consulate appointment before we can plan our trip.


So many steps and we are in control of NONE of them!! There is absolutely nothing we can do. We are helpless.

But... like I said, trying to stay positive. Our official wait for Article 5 started on 3/4 when the National Visa Center cabled our immigration approval to the U.S. Consulate, so that's 22 days ago. The average wait for Article 5 is 28 days. So we are still below average. Maybe things are perfectly on-track and this is totally normal. It's just so disconcerting to hear "we don't have your paperwork yet" when we thought they would have had it for a week or more!

Positive thoughts... Positive thoughts...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just Cruel

I go to work at 4:00am. A..... M...... In The Morning.

Which means my alarm goes off at 3:15. In The Morning.

So this morning, when I was awakened out of a sound and deep sleep at 3:00 -- a mere 15 minutes before my alarm -- I was not pleased. What woke me? Why, my adorable, and not-yet-potty-trained daughter, Ruby. She was demanding that her diaper be changed.

Just look at that beautiful little face... Manipulative, that one. Don't let the cuteness fool you. Down-right manipulative...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Send A Letter, Maria

Well, the title really should be, "Send A Letter To Maria," since that's what we did this week. Maria who, you ask? Maria Shriver, of course. Since my new daughter knows her, after all.

That's right, my new daughter, waiting for us in Shanghai, has met Maria Shriver. And here's the photographic proof:

This picture was taken on November 17, 2005 (the same day we sent our dossier to China for Ruby's adoption... How's that for a God-moment?) This photo ran in the San Francisco Chronicle, and then was picked up by other newspapers and websites around the country. The caption identifies her as "eight-year-old Lin Guo Chu, who is waiting to be adopted."

Did she understand that she was sitting on the lap of an American celebrity when this picture was taken? Did she know that her picture would be seen all over the country? Did she expect to be adopted soon after this picture was taken? How many times in the last 4 1/2 years has she wondered, where is my family? Why haven't they come yet?

We're sending her another care package this week. We sent her one back when we got our LOA, but this time we're putting a package together ourselves. She'll be getting a map of the U.S. and a Chinese/English dictionary, a Michigan travel guide (no, she won't be able to read it, but we picked one specifically for the pictures) and a T-shirt that says Michigan. Okay, technically it's a U of M t-shirt, but don't tell my Dad. This is Spartan country!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy Spring!

Ruby got a Big Girl Bike for her birthday in January. The weather was actually nice that day, so she took it out for a spin.

And she cried. (Didn't care for the high-tech braking system.)

So she went back to her trusty tricycle.

Yesterday, Dave got out the Big Girl Bike again. Needless to say, the kid's a champ! By this evening, she had this bike-riding thing down. Bring on the 2-wheeler! (Uh, let's rethink that... I'm not ready for that yet!)

So, my 3-year-old daughter loves to ride her bike. Does my 12-year-old daughter know how? Has she ever been on a bike? I'll be finding out soon!

Dave spoke with our social worker today. Our NVC letter and DS 230 form were all in order and have been sent off to China! Next step: Article 5, which should come within the next month. After that, Travel Approval and then TRAVEL!!! I decided today to stop thinking about the wait ahead in terms of months, but rather in terms of weeks. To say we should be travelling in 8 weeks sounds so much closer than 2 months. So there you go, I'm mere weeks away from travel!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Little By Little...

We got our letter from NVC yesterday, which means we now know our I-800 (Immigration) paperwork has been sent to the American Consulate in Guangzhou! Our Travel Approval should be here in 4-6 weeks, hopefully!

We're coming as soon as we can, Lin!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Favorite Picture

This is my favorite picture of my soon-to-be daughter, Lin.

Why? Her eyes are closed and I have no idea why she's wearing bunny ears.

But she's just so darn beautiful, isn't she?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Not My Favorite Picture

I intend to keep this blog honest. That's why I'm sharing this picture and telling you that it's not my favorite. Partly because of the scary expression on my face. But mostly because... it's phony.

At the time this picture was taken, I was faking excitement on the news that I would be adopting a 12-year-old girl.

The truth was, I was terrified. For the first 24 hours after getting the news, I panicked. What have we done?!? I am not ready to be raising an adolescent girl! I had only been a mom for a year and a half and, quite frankly, I still feel very insecure about my mothering skills. I don't have enough patience. I get tired too quickly. I'm way too selfish.

So no, right off the bat, I didn't think we were doing the right thing. And I admit here and now, I thought about calling our social worker and telling her we changed our mind.

But I kept that thought to myself.

Shortly after that picture was taken, we went out to eat. After dinner, when Dave went to start up the Jeep, it didn't start. This made me panic even more. We can't afford to adopt again! And now there's something wrong with the Jeep! As we sat there, waiting for Dave's sister to pick us up and take us home, I felt absolutely sick.

There was a turning point however, and it came the next morning at work. I spent the first couple hours that next morning sick to my stomach and getting nothing done. I knew my co-workers were noticing that something was wrong, and so I started working up the nerve to share the news. I was terrified everyone's response would be "What are you thinking?!? What the hell are you doing? Who in their right minds would want to adopt a 12-year-old kid?"

But no one said that. They all, every one of them, congratulated me. Sincerely.

And in that moment I said to myself, "You know what? This is going to be great."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I am officially dipping my toe into the ocean that is ... blogging!

Hmmm... what to say?

I guess I'll begin with just a quick note about our family and why I wanted to start a blog. My husband and I are the very happy parents of a 3-year-old girl named Ruby, whom we adopted from China in January 2008. We quickly knew we wanted to adopt from China again, but we were unwilling to sign up for the years of waiting for another healthy infant. Somehow I knew we would adopt an older child.

Fast-forward 18 months. I received an email from our adoption agency in July '09 about a group of children currently living in Shanghai who had recently been made available for adoption. The majority of the kids were older, age 4-11, and with minor special needs. I was overwhelmingly drawn to them. So I went home (I had been at work when I saw the email) and I told my husband, Dave, to look at these kids. We were on the same page immediately! I emailed our social worker with the names of 2 little girls, asking if we could be considered to adopt them.

Little did I know that Dave also sent in his own email... with the names of 6 more girls... without telling me!! When I found out, I was a bit taken aback, but I laughed and said, What are the chances anyway? We don't have any paperwork done; surely these kids are all going to go to families who are further along in the process than we are.

Famous last words...

We were told our agency would be making the decision on August 4th. I got home from work at 1:30 and waited. When 4:00 came and went, I figured we had not been chosen to be the parents of any of the girls we requested. At 4:30 I called our social worker's cell phone and left a message. She called back a few minutes later. I had so convinced myself that it was bad news that I probably sounded like Eeyore when I answered the phone. "Hey... how are you...," I muttered, and she said "Not as good as you're about to be!!"