Getting Ready, or, a Summer Update

I’ve been really bad about updating the blog. And there’s so much going on to share! I don’t quite know where to start… I will tell you though, that this will probably be mostly pictures. 🙂

Well, first, I should say that we got our Travel Approval! Our TA came in on August 27, in time to make a September Gotcha Day. Our prayers for September were answered! But, due to some circumstances, we are not travelling until October. It’s hard knowing that we could be in China RIGHT NOW, but we are still here waiting… But it’s ok. We’ll be boarding a plane to China in 21 days. Here’s hoping we make the most of our time here, but that these next three weeks go by quickly!

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While we wait, we I’ve been nesting like crazy! I just finished refinishing a dresser and nightstand that were mine as a child, to go in the boys’ new room. It was my first time attempting anything like this, and I think they turned out pretty well. The beds are put together and made up, and artwork is on the wall. We just need a few details, like a picture of our boys together to put in one of the empty frames, and we’ll be done! I think it’s coming together nicely.

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My grandparents came for a visit, which was so awesome. They were here for two wonderful weeks. It was full of conversation, food, and family. They were helping me with learning Mandarin so that I would have some useful phrases on hand while we’re in China. They also gifted us with a tour of Beijing that includes hotel, so we’re now able to sightsee a little bit of China while we are over there!

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The ladies of my small group surprised me with a shower to celebrate Evan. It was very sweet and thoughtful, and lots of fun! There was Chinese food, and Chinese lanterns, and an American Flag cookie cake. There were also fortune cookies with hand written “fortunes” that were scripture and quotes about families, children, and adoption. It was so cool! I am so blessed to have these ladies in my life, and thankful for people who are excited about Evan coming home as we are!

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As far as we can see, even with the added cost of traveling during Trade Fair, our adoption is fully funded! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us! Your support means so much to us!

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There were a couple Myrtle Beach trips.

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Chris and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary last week. My parents kept Austin Friday and Saturday nights so that we could have a nice dinner on Friday (our anniversary) and go to a music festival to see our favorite band play the following day. It was awesome.

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And lastly, I’ll just say that this was the summer of trains, swimming lessons, and Okra.

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Numbers and Letters

I completely overlooked posting a First Friday update last week, as we were heading down to Myrtle Beach for the weekend, and I had a ton on my mind. I was hoping for a phone call, an email, something to tell us that our Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC) had been issued. I was also working for the majority of the day, and had to help Chris with some Tobu stuff before we could get on the road. I also braided my whole head to try and have some beachy waves for the weekend. Oh, and I had to drop something off at my parents’ house. So… I just completely forgot.IMG_20150703_114953491_HDR The beach was a great trip. We stayed Friday through Monday, and the long weekend was just what we all needed. It was full of family, friends, great weather, love music, fireworks, and food. What more could we ask for? Oh, and on Monday we finally got word that our LSC/ Letter Of Approval (LOA) is on it’s way! Yes! It only took 41 days. 41 very quick, but equally long days, if that’s possible.

Austin built his first sand castle, and loved holding sparklers. He brought his football and basketball everywhere we went, and asked to go to the beach every single day. I think he loved having lots of time with us, and he was not a happy camper come Tuesday when he had to go back to “school.”

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So, as for adoption updates. Lots of things happened last week. We were moved from “in review” to “to be matched”. And on Monday we found out se have soft LOA, which means our approval is heading to our agency right now! It should be on US soil this week! Next for us, is US immigration stuff. Visas, and getting our boy approved to be adopted here. From the timeframes we’re seeing of those going before us, it looks like we can expect to travel in 8-12 weeks! Yes, that’s white a range, but it just depends on if there are any hold ups, typos, holidays, etc. But, September is looking very likely, now, and we are so excited! And just to secure a September date, we went and bought ourselves some concert tickets for our anniversary. The concert is on 9/23, so, I’m willing to bet we will be given dates that overlap it! I think a little China trip is worth missing the concert, though! 😉 We can see the light at the end of this long tunnel. Please be praying that things move smoothly and quickly as we progress! To celebrate (and hopefully help our nannies prepare our son for travel), we had a toy airplane sent to the orphanage.

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So in the next 8-12 weeks, we have to finish some education, figure out our travel stuff, finish (we’ve barely started) the boys’ new room, and do our best to prepare our little family for the big change that’s coming. That, and raise about $10,000. That’s, like $1000 a week, y’all. Holy guacamole. Where do we even start? Well, tomorrow we are having another Moe’s dinner, so hopefully that helps a bit. I have this weird feeling that we won’t have nearly the turnout that we got last time, but I am hopeful that I’m wrong. If you’re in the Charlotte area and would like to come eat with us, please stop by! You don’t even have to bring the flyer this time. And we’ll do another Moe’s dinner next month, and one in September if we’re still here.  We are not doing a yard sale this weekend, but the next few weekends we definitely will be. We’re still selling puzzle pieces, hoping and praying for a grant, and you will soon see us asking if anyone has hotel and airline miles they can donate to us. We’ve also been selling random things here and there, and I am working a wedding in August. But we’re running out of ideas… and time, for that matter. Not that we’re complaining. The sooner we can bring our little guy home, the better!

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Here are our First Friday Funding Figures, on this second Tuesday of July. We’re 72% there, folks. It’s hard not to stress about that remaining 28%, but honestly I know we will be fine. The Lord will provide a way for our little family to be together, I have no doubt!

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image009 (1)image008On a completely different note, Chris’ disc golf store is open for business! Please check it out! We’ve got two birthday parties this Saturday, and some of our favorite folks are in town, so we’ll visit with them on Sunday. I feel like there’s something I’m forgetting to mention…. Guess it will have to wait until the next post!

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Google Font’s “Give You Glory”

Yard Sale #3, and OOT!

So next stop on our acronym parade- OOT! OOT stands for out of translation, which means our dossier is done being translated by the CCCWA (Chinese adoption officials), and is now being reviewed! After review, which seems to be taking just a few days, then our file is matched with our son’s file, and we get LSC/LOA which means Letter Seeking Confirmation/Letter Of Approval. So we’re really close to being done with this part of the process! We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, folks! And if there are no hold-ups, (prayers please!) we should be on track to go get our kiddo in September!! SEPTEMBER! Please, please continue to pray that September is the month we leave to get our boy!

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So… if we were to leave the very last week of September, that gives us just over 13 weeks before our life changes forever!

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*Google Font’s “Give You Glory”

Depending on how you look at it, that can seem like a very short or pretty long time. I’m thankful to know that summertime usually flies by, and that September will be here in a blink of an eye! We have a lot to do during that time. A last batch of education, preparing the boys’ new room, and fundraising. A lot of fundraising. We still have about $10k to raise, and only 13ish weeks, so we know that we’ve got a lot of work cut out for us. How can we raise almost a thousand dollars a week??

Well, the good folks at Moe’s have offered to host a monthly fundraiser dinner for us until we leave for China. How awesome are they? They are even going to put a poster in the window a week ahead of the planned events to help us draw more folks! We had such a wonderful time last time, and were taken such good care of. How could we turn them down? If we have turnouts like the last time, we’ll probably make $1000 between all 4 of the events combined. That would help us a lot! So if you are in the Ballantyne area, please plan to be with us the second Thursday of every month for the next few months! We’d appreciate it!

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In addition to that, we’ve been so blessed by family, neighbors, friends, and coworkers who have donated to our yard sales. We had the big one in may, another one about 2 weeks ago, and had one this morning, despite impending thunderstorms. The rain held out today, and we made $815!! Last time we made $805, and at the big one we made almost $2,000.  We have so much stuff to sell, that we will continue to have yard sales every two to three weeks until we can clear most of it out. I can’t imagine we’ll make these large amounts every time, but man, we are so thankful that we have thus far! Yard sales are a lot of work, but these numbers make it so worth it! And God kept the rain at bay until 5 minutes after we got everything back in the garage!

There are a few items I’m selling online, that are bringing in some cash, too, so we might make our $1000/week goal for this week. We’ll see if we can keep up the momentum! We’re still selling restaurant.com gift certificates, so please buy one for yourself, one for a friend, and share the link with anyone else that might be interested! And of course, we’re still “selling” puzzle pieces for $15 each, and we will write your name on the back of your pieces! Our puzzle is almost 3/4 of the way complete. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to it thus far! We can’t wait to complete it, frame it, and hang it on our wall!

So that’s our update! Our dossier’s moving along, and we are plugging away at the fundraising. We know that the Lord will provide the funds we need, and in His timing, so we are not really to anxious about the money. Not yet, anyway…! We appreciate your prayers and support more than you know!

LID

Praise God! We are one step closer to our boy! Yesterday, we got the call that our dossier has been “Registered” to the database in China and is “in Translation.”

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Being LID (Log In Date/registered) is the step we’ve been praying about, and the last step before a big one- LOA (letter of acceptance). Over the next few months, our dossier will go from being “In Translation” to “In Review”. Then it will be waiting “To Be Matched” when it is transferred to the matching department. When the dossier is “Matched” to our son’s file, the letter “Seeking Confirmation” (or Letter Of Acceptance)will be issued, followed by “Travel Approval”.
While all of that is happening oversees, we will be ramping up our fundraising efforts, getting the boys’ room ready, educating ourselves, and praying like mad, because once we have LOA, things should really start moving toward travel. We are still hoping and praying that we will get to meet our boy in September. It feels so long from now, but when I think of all that has to be done, still, I know those days will start flying by.  …at least, I hope they do!
Please be praying with us that the people handling our dossier are careful, accurate, and swift, and that we move through this process quickly and get our LOA in time for us to travel in September. We’d also appreciate prayer that our little guy is being prepared for thishuge change in his life, somehow. Please, please pray!  Thank you!

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Give You Glory by Google Fonts

 

DTC!

Next up on our acronym parade….. DTC (dossier to China)!

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This means all of our authenticated documents (13 in all) are on their way to China for approval. It needs to get logged in (LID- our next “step”), translated, matched with Evan’s file, and approved, which typically takes 3-4 months. We’d appreciate your prayers that this process moves smoothly and swiftly!

As you know, we are hoping and praying that we can travel in September. It’s a long shot, but our God can move mountains, so what’s moving a little paperwork for Him? 😉

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This is Google Font’s ” Give You Glory”. No matter if we get there in 21 weeks or not (but please pray we do!) He gets all the glory.

I 800-A

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not very good at waiting. We are at a stage in our adoption process where I cannot do anything to move us along. We send off documents… and wait. The thing we’ve been waiting on for the last two-ish months, is our I800A approval. Basically, we had to have US Immigration review our home study and other documents to make sure we are eligible to adopt from a Hague Convention country. We sent our application on 2/25, and were notified that they received it on 2/27. Shortly after that, we were given a biometric fingerprint appointment for 3/25 (I think), but we went in early and got them done on 3/17.

Our agency had said the entire process, from receipt to approval takes 2-3 months, but I had seen some folks recently get them in about 6 weeks. I have been hopeful that ours would be quick, too! Well, 6 weeks came and went. I decided to call and see if I could get an update, and the lady I spoke with said that they are very busy, and to call once a week to see if we’ve been assigned to an officer. She said once we are assigned one, it usually takes 3-5 days to get approved if there are no issues with our application. So, I started calling USCIS on Wednesdays, and have done that for the last three weeks.

Earlier today, someone in my agency’s facebook group posted that they had gotten their approval. So… I called a day earlier than planned. I just couldn’t help it. Not only did the lady who answered inform me that our case had been assigned to an officer, but she transferred me to him! He then proceeded to tell me that he APPROVED OUR FILE ON FRIDAY. Whaaaat? So, if he was not yet assigned when I called last Wednesday, and approvals take 3-5 days…. You know what? I’m not even going to question it. Thank you, God! Thank you! He said our approval was sent to us on Friday and that a copy was also sent to our agency. So, if you’re looking at dates, that means our entire process was done one week shy of the 2 -3 month timeframe that our agency gave us.

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So, now, we email a copy to our agency (just in case it’s quicker than having them get it in the mail- especially since our social worker is leaving the country tomorrow), and they expedite it’s authentication. Once we have that, the authenticated approval, along with our 12 other authenticated documents get sent to China, and we’ll be DTC (Dossier to China)!

One step closer!! Please keep praying for things to move quickly and Smoothly. Remember to be praying for September!

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Font: give you glory