Saturday, August 28, 2010

Are we there yet?


We are on the last leg of our pre-travel journey.  Our Article 5 was picked up on Thursday from the Consulate and sent to the CCAA.  CCAA will process our paperwork and issue travel approval within 2-5 weeks (this is the agency's guess).  I have seen people receive TA very quickly, and very slowly.   The average waiting time from Article 5 to TA on the China Adopt Talk forum is 14 days.  That means that some people are actually receiving notice in less than two weeks (fingers crossed people).  There are a ton of closures and events coming up in China from the end of September through November.  We're hoping to avoid those!  I'll post the dates well as lot so of other info.  Just remember, PLEASE cross your fingers that we get a speedy TA!!!!!  PLEASSSSE!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How did you end up on the adoption journey?

There was a recent post on the China Adopt Talk board.  It asked how folks ended up on the journey to adoption.  As I typed it made me realize all of the hurt we've endured over the past five and a half years.  However, it also made me realize how lucky we are.  This was my response.

Thank you all for sharing. I am amazed at how many of you have taken a similar journey to my own. I see so many posts from those with bio children that I didn't realize there are just as many who did travel down the road of infertility.

My journey essentially began on November 23, 1979 (my birthday). You see, my now father-in law and my father went to high school together. My father in-law moved away and started a family of his own but they'd visit us periodically. Eventually I moved away from home to attend a college which will remain nameless (it's a Gator nation). The only people I knew in my new town were my dad's friend and his family. One of his boys really took good care of me and showed me around town. My parents may say he took too good of care as he is now my DH.

Some would say our story is a fairy tale. We have baby pictures together. My maiden name is Light. Married name is Shine. Everything seemed perfect.

We were married after dating for 6 years when I was 25 years old. Therefore, we wasted no time building our family. I have always been a kid focused person. Well, year after year, and treatment after treatment, our family did not grow. There was no story book ending in sight. There were several obstacles, slow downs, 4 IVF's, several IUI's and lots of Clomid instead. Finally, after transferring doctor's and going out of state, we had success after an unsuccessful IVF but a frozen embryo transfer that resulted from it . However, it was short lived. That was about this time last year.

We'd been through so much and were physically and emotionally drained. Throughout our IVF journey I had people ask all of the time "why don't you just adopt?" as if that was a consolation prize. We realized we first needed to grieve the lose of our ability to conceive. After the last loss we were ready. It just felt right.

We too investigated all of our options, domestic vs. international. We knew right away international was the right fit but didn't know what country. We soon realized that China was right for us, right before my 30th birthday.

It's amazing now. I really did think for several years we wouldn't get our story book ending. Now I know that our book just had a different ending than I'd expected. I couldn't imagine it ending any other way. We hope to meet our sweet Sophie in October (or late September if we're super lucky). Knowing what I now know, I'd do it all over again if it got us to our sweet little girl.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stacy VS. the NVC...I win!

Here's the scoop.  On Sunday, 8/8/10 I emailed the NVC to get an update on our status, hoping that I'd be the first email in their inbox Monday morning.  Nothing!  No response!  On Tuesday I called and spoke to someone who told me I was in the system, but that I should be cabled "soon."  Of course "soon" could not be defined.  I was tempted to call later that evening since the call center is open to midnight.  Actually I was close to begging and pleading with Jason to call.  Neither of us called.

On Wednesday (TODAY!!!), I called and found out that we were cabled yesterday.  See!  I should have gone with my gut!  Well, I'm glad I went with my gut today.  I asked the wonderful gentleman I was speaking to, to please email me the NVC letter that is usually sent by mail.  I knew that having the letter a couple days earlier was a good thing as many families have stressed the importance of having it emailed...and in some cases fighting with NVC to get that done.  Of course I was put on hold so my buddy could check with a supervisor.  The answer was "no."  When I said that "the adoption community is very close and I am aware of several families receiving this letter emailed" my not-so-pleasant friend responded sarcastically "oh, they work for the NVC, do they?"  WHATEVER!  I politely asked to speak to the supervisor myself.  I suggested to the supervisor that he email this letter to me since it had been done for other families.  He told me they could only email it in emergencies.  "Okay, what's an emergency?" I wondered... and asked.  Apparently emergencies were only if you were in China and needed it the next day.  This supervisor wouldn't budge so I asked for the next in line.  I was told I had to email the same address I hadn't received a response from with the attention to Sue in the subject line.  I expressed my concern to this lovely (there's my sarcasm) supervisor that I lacked confidence in email responses since I was still waiting on one from Sunday.  He assured me I'd get her attention. 

Four hours later...nothing!  Well, I just decided that I may need to call and dig my heels in a little.  I'm not ugly.  I'm not rude.  However, my daughter is half way around the world, AND I WANT HER HERE!  So...I kindly called the next Representative who assured me that I was given correct info and that I would not be able to receive email confirmation.  Supervisor please!  I got on the phone with supervisor #2 who also could not help.  Here's the interesting thing, every time I call they confirm my email address.  I asked sup #2 why they confirm this.  "So we can make sure when we send emails they get to you."  "Oh, so you DO send emails?"  "Yes."  "What kind of emails do you send?  You CAN send me mine?"  "No, only certain emails."  Ahhhh, it was shenanigans.  I tried to appeal to his emotions by saying "I don't know if you are a parent but this is my first child, and she is half way around the world, and getting to her even a week sooner would make my world."  Nothing!  Finally after I'd mentioned several times that I KNEW this had been done for other families NOT in China and heard "oh, well I can't confirm what other families have had" I explained that getting the letter was no longer the issue.  The issue was that they needed to be consistent with their procedures.  Whether or not he could confirm what happened for others, I could.  I told him I needed to speak to someone who I could share my concerns about consistency with and that I would be happy to provide names of families who received the email confirmation.  I suggested that "even though YOU seem to be consistent, there is obviously a breakdown with other supervisors, and as a manager I'm SURE someone would want to know."  He said "hold please."  When he came back he said "you'll have the email later tonight or tomorrow morning."  I won!!!  I was still wary on whether or not it would actually come through but I figured he'd know I'd be calling back if not.

An hour later it came through!

I forwarded it to Yu Ping at WACAP.

She responded and said that letters can only be delivered the consulate on Thursday's and Monday's.  She emailed the guide who will be dropping it off but since it was so close to 9:00AM China time she was concerned the guide had already left the house and would receive the email.  She then said, she got it!  She's dropping it off today.  So as I type our letter is getting dropped off.  AND IT GETS BETTER!  She was able to tell me that our Article 5 will picked up on 8/26 and sent off the CCAA.  We will only be waiting on Travel Approval from there, which is a two week average right now.  I may have to bump up my guesstimate!!! 

Oh boy!  That was a lot of typing!!  I'll keep you posted later.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sophie's room at Wai Po's!

Today had been so much fun.  The furniture my mom purchased (Sophie's Wai Po) came in and we were able to setup her room.  It turned out so cute!  Hopefully sometime this week we'll be able to work on her valance.  I have a cute idea for that.  Too bad I still haven't thought of a solution for our house!  Oh well.   This room is pretty much done with the exception of the valance, the night stand, and maybe a cute picture for one of the side walls.  It still looks adorable regardless.  Here are the pictures.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Can you believe it?

Today I actually got a call from someone from NBC.  A lovely lady named Nina actually returned my call!  She called when I was working in my office with the door shut.  Kayla answered the phone and wasn't going to patch her through.  The lady mentioned "international adoption" and Kayla quickly told her to hold.  When I got on the phone Nina said "I knew you'd want to talk to me."  She was very friendly.  She explained that she recognized my name when she heard my message and that our 1800 was approved....YESTERDAY!  Yes, it pays to be a pain in the butt!  That should be overnighted to the NVC from my understanding and then we'll be waiting on a letter from the NVC and for them to "cable" our file to Guangzhou.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

1800 update

It's been a few days since I called immigration (or NBC to be exact) to find out our 1800 status and was told we didn't exist.  I figured I'd give it another try today.  The gentleman that answered the phone asked for my last name.  Then he wanted to know the name of the country we were adopting from.  Then the agency.  Then the child's name.  I had to chuckle at that since in China it would be Pan Ying and in the United States it's Ying Pan.  Which did he want?  Was my answer going to dictate whether he would give me information?  I laughed aloud and explained that it would depend on if we were in the US or in China.  I guess I passed the test because he then told me our file was given to the adjudicator.  He patched me to their desk and I left a message to be called or emailed on our we'll see how much a part of the US government they are based on whether I get a response or not.  The good news is that I have no problem at all annoying the poop out of them until they process my paperwork.  If it means getting me to Sophie one day sooner...consider it done!  Hopefully we'll be on to the next step by the end of the week.  One can wish anyway.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Locations we'll visit in China

By now you all know that Sophie currently lives in Inner Mongolia.  That is her province.  The city that she lives in is called Baotou.  When we travel to Inner Mongolia we will meet her in the capital city of Hohhot, and hopefully visit her orphanage in Baotou.  After visiting Inner Mongolia we will travel south to the Guangdong province to Guangzhou, where the U.S. Consulate is located.  You will see the green northern Inner Mongolia and purple southern Guangdong province below.

Here is an Inner Mongolia specific map.  You can see it is bordered by both
Mongolia and Russia.  Baotou is a four hour train ride from Hohhot. 
Okay, now that you've had a geography lesson, let's see if we can make this blog interactive!  Let's show Sophie all of the people that care about her and her homeland.  We're going to have a contest to see who can comment with the most interesting fact about Inner Mongolia. 

Let the games begin!!!