Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Whew..we're ok on our timeline...

5/22/07: or so it seems....you never know. But Beth calmed our fears again, seems the login timeframe lately has been running just over a week. This is such great news! As always--you never know, but this at least makes me hopeful for now--and since there is nothing I can do anyway--that's a nice piece of mind. Thanks again Beth.

Destiny runs throughout our lives....

I wanted to be sure to post information about our incredible GOL angel and our amazing caseworker Beth. I've told her before, but I don't think realizes yet--that she has literally been on this journey with us since our first step back in "May of 2005". She was the one that encouraged us and guided us to the China program, she was assigned to us as our GOL contact and also assigned as our caseworker. She has been a breath of fresh air at times when we've been discouraged, she's wise beyond her years in the wisdom she has shared with us in all areas of this journey, and a calm in the storm when we're most nervous and un-steady. Her name is Beth Schoeppner, Adoption Program Manager. Here is a little about Beth and her journey to GOL (as posted on GOL website): Beth has worked with Gift of Love since January 2004. After receiving her degree in Family and Children Services in May 2004 she accepted a full time position as Adoption Associate. Beth was promoted to Adoption Program Manager in May 2005. In addition, Beth also completes home studies and post-adoption reports for Gift of Love families residing in Iowa. Beth is motivated by her love and compassion for children. Beth’s family includes her parents from Templeton, IA and a sister and brother-in-law who live in Ankeny with her nephew (Tyson).

Thank you Beth--like our little girl, we feel you too were destined to be a part of our lives. You will always hold a special place in our hearts and we will be sure our little girls knows who you are and the important role you played in bringing her to us.

A referral for my friend Martine and Nate...

As it seems to always happen on this journey--an angel will tap me on the shoulder to do something and sure enough, it was meant to be. Yesterday was a busy day running to the doctors and client appointments and designing/updating some client files. I was preparing dinner when I thought I'd check my e-mail quick--sure enough there was an email from my giftfamilies yahoo group "Martine and Nate"--"It's a boy...". For years I've read online groups with these messages posted, I've watched our GOL group and have seen several messages like this, sense we started this process, but this referral was special, it was a family I knew (well, I know Martine). I can't tell you the happiness I felt for her. I tried to express it in my email, but I'm sure it was not sufficient to properly express the deep sense of "joy" I had. He is perfect, and like our journey--is truly destined. He was born on the very day their paperwork arrived in Hanoi! How beautiful is that! Yet again, I am so touched to have been touched by Martine and her miraculous story. To go one further the referral was months ahead of what they anticipated, they will travel within 30 days! What a blessing.

Asian Celebration Festival--5/12/07

A couple weeks ago we attended the Annual Asian Festival. It was a gorgeous day, and it was outdoors so we could take our "girls--montana and sadie" --so we thought it would be the perfect way to spend the afternoon. It turns out it was a great day, walked the entire festival twice, ate some amazing food from the Chinese Village, purchased a couple souvenir T-Shirts and a couple really fabulous Vietnamese hats. It got quite "hot", so we bought a couple of these hats to keep some of the heat off--and we were amazed at the temperature difference when we put them on. My big Nebraska guy looked a little silly with it on--but he was cooler and a great sport about the whole thing. Our dogs are "kid magnets", so we also met a few wonderful people, some adoptive families that looked just like we imagine our family to look as soon as she arrives. It was a beautiful day with our "family" exploring the community we're traveling towards. The music, the smells, the sounds, the faces...it's all new and so exciting. It's your world...in a micro-sense here in Iowa.

A memory....

I wanted to document a very memorable moment for me--March 8th, 2007. I was having lunch with an associate and two clients, when the conversation turned to children. As most often it does with my clients, as they are usually working moms and their children are their pride and joy (understandably so). Inevitably, the converstation turns to me, and I'm often asked, "do you have children?". I usually dread that moment, as my reply has been various over the years, but always the same in that big "no--not yet." But this day was different, because we had started our adoption journey and I was elated to answer, "no not yet--but we're in the process of adopting from China!" I can't describe for you what that meant to me. My heart was full--yet another milestone in my life journey. Little one--you make my heart sing!

Our first shopping trip....

Saturday was a windy day--so boating was out for yet another day. The lakes have been so riddled with debri we couldn't get on the lake safely, and now, the lakes are gorgeous and their swelled banks make our small lake triple the size, wonderful for enjoying the waters with lots of other boaters safely--BUT, the wind is creating rough water with white caps, so we opted instead to run some errands. We saw a posting from a from a previous GOL family they were selling their crib and other items, so we drove to Ankeny to check it out. We decided to wait to buy anything until after our Dossier is logged in in China. Since the timeline is so close, we felt it best this way--all around. Although, it was really neat to meet Marissa and Rachel their two adopted daughters, absolutely delightful. I can't wait to see our little one. AND it was very neat to anticipate the purchase of items for her. It felt more real at that moment than it has yet.

The red thread narrows....

Nothing has been "comfortable" about this process, so I don't know why I should expect the timing of the final stages to be a comfortable timeframe. Our agency warned us it would be the hardest part--when things were done on our end, and we were waiting on government agencies to do their part of our journey. But I didn't realize it would be quite so hard. We rec'd our appointments for fingerprinting--I was so excited until I saw the date of our appointment--June 7th! This means we most likely won't receive our I-171H (the last doc we need) until late Mid to late June--and if we don't get our dossier to China with the end of June group, there is a good chance we'll miss getting logged in by Dan's 50th on August 18th. I guess there's nothing we can do but pray. I've been doing a lot of that.

She's the first thing I think of when I wake and the last thing on my mind before I go to sleep. I pray she's ok, I pray that God will ease the pain of her birth-mother and father, and I pray she will be taken well care of while we work our way down her (what seems very narrow at the moment), but strong destined red thread path that guides us to her.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Grey turns to Blue...

It's been such a gloomy, dreary weekend and yet another gloomy day again today. I miss Dan too--he's off to work and it's just me and the girls...too much time to think maybe--who knows--what I do know is it was looking like a "grey day indeed". But an email to my sister and a wonderful chat with my mom and spirits are lifted and whalla--an email from our angel caseworker Beth-- OUR HOME STUDY is approved and off to US Citizen and Immigration Service (affectionately referred to as CIS)! Who-hho! Hee...hee...sounds of glee! This means we should get our fingerprinting appointment soon—then the FBI background check and whalla! I-171 (permission to adopt a child from China and bring into the U.S. As a U.S. Citizen...and the chinese consulate authentication in Chicago and our Dossier is off to China!....wow...that takes my breath away typing that....suddenly a grey day turns blue skies--in my head anyway.

Friday, May 4, 2007

4.1.07: It's fate

I truly believe I have so many wonderful angels in my life--they gently whisper in my ear to tell me “it’s all ok—you’re on the right path”. They do this with all the little things that happen that most people right off to “coincidence”.

So...wanna hear something very cool--fateful really--you all know me--anywho--I went to Dr. Lenz office to pick up our physical exam paperwork and they called a notary in their building they knew to notorize Dr. Lenz signature--guess who the notory was? Kathy Dummermuth (our Dear-Dear Friend and a bridesmaid in our wedding)! I was so excited she'd be a part of our journey--I had just run into her and Jeff at Wal-Mart the night before--haven't seen them in ages. It was so--meant to be. How cool is that! She said they'd never called her before either--which makes it even stranger--or cooler-whichever you like to think. Just when I get scared and think we shouldn't be doing it...something happens to tell me we're on the right path--wow--what a journey.

5.2.07: A shiny copper penny...

As long as I'm making my posts about "things" that happen for a reason. I had a bummer day Wednesday. I don't know what was wrong. Just too much going on right now I guess. As I poured a glass of water at the refridgerator--I was asking for some help in getting through all the "waiting in my life", patience would be great and a little luck in the area of making sure it all works out ok for us. Dan had his appointment about this foot/knee on Thursday and I was worried about that too. All in all, needed something--I noticed a picture of my Dad on the refridgerator--it's been there for years now--but it was if I could here him saying, "it's going to be ok babe." It was neat--I pushed on with my day--transfering the laundry from the washer to the dryer--and low and behold at the bottom of the washer was a "very shiny" copper penny, heads-up too. A warm feeling grew over me--I thanked God for tiny signs and moved on with my day. I still don't know what that penny meant--did it bring me luck? I slipped it in a special place for safe keeping, who knows...I do know it made me feel better. The day was topped off with a wonderful evening with my husband, he was so sweet and kind, it was as though he knew I had a bad day. Think someone told him?

4/2007:Angels tap me on the shoulder...

As fed-x packages and our documents are flying around the country, it seems a whirlwind of paper and confusion, but as I would find out, I have angels tapping me on the shoulder just as one is about to arrive at my doorstep. Everytime a package would arrive--just before--I'd have the feeling/thought, "I should check on those documents in Chicago and see if they're headed back yet", or "check on our passports they should be arriving soon", or "check on that package from the New York consulate". And everytime, I checked, it said it was arriving "that day!" and to go one step further, our fed-x guy "Ed" would show up a few minutes later! In amazement--I'd run down the stairs to the door and a smile the size of the grand canyon would grow on my face--and end in a joyful trip up stairs--for another prayer of thanks. I'll need to get a picture of "Ed" delivering the next package--do you think 'he's" an angel in a FEDEX uniform? Hmmm...could be. :) I like to think so.

4.28.07: Someone is Orchestrating our Journey

I knew I recognized Martine at the education class last Saturday—and I still think it’s strange she works with my neighbor Gail. But...how really know her is from her blog! I was surfing the web one day on the Friday before Easter when I stumbled on her blog through the “squish” quilt project she’s doing—I thought it was neat—so I clicked further and found her blog. So you can imagine the shivers that ran through me—when I pulled up the site she gave me at lunch on Saturday—to see it was “Martine”! God truly does have a plan--and I'm listening as close as I can.

It seems Martine and I were destined to meet. And I for one am so happy I did.

I had already bookmarked her blog—but now I will follow you with a whole new perspective. Wow...

3.14.07:Our own Letterhead

I created a “letterhead” for our family. The chinese characters behind (screened back mean family) and the small characters in the yellow box to the left mean “Lisa” and “Dan”--(you can see a modification of the letterhead in our blog header.) Or so the internet translation tells me. We’d like to use this letterhead in all our coorespondence, we had to check with Monique the director at our agency to be sure the chinese characters are what the internet says they are. And let us know if she thinks this is not a “good idea” for us to do. I want to put our best foot forward--and this is definately us. :)

3.3.07: Ugh! All the paperwork..overwelmed

I've been trying to push through this paperwork. I want to get it done--so I can focus on the fun stuff--planning for her to be here with us! Right now--as I'm sure a lot of adoptive parents feel--I'm overwelmed with all this stuff--and like my mom said--it would be easier if I worked full-time as far as the paperwork goes--but as far as after we get her home--no so much! So--we'll get through it. The hard part of that is I need to find a CPA to verify my employment--I think I make it a bigger deal than it is...but every thing we write--every paper we submit is a reflection of US and I want it to be perfect--you know me.

3.2.07: Thank-You to our Family and Friends...

Whew! This was a hard part! Asking our family and friends to take the time to write a letter answering 23 very probing questions about us was tough to do. We are immeasurably thankful for the time, energy and thought they put into those letters--they are a cherished part of our journey. We can’t begin to express how important a role you play in our lives and will play in the life of our adoptive daughter. You’re very special to us and always will be. I can not express my appreciation properly in words. Wow! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you....forever and for always. We love you from us and the daughter that's on her way to us--thanks in-part but a BIG Way to you--Grammy Cota, Aunt Shelly and Uncle Chris, Aunt Kathy and Uncle Tom, Dear-Dear-Friends Shayna and Matt (I think she'll call you Aunt Shayna and Uncle Matt), Gary and Zola, and Sheri and Greg!

2.2.07 --We did it!

Well we applied for the china adoption program with Gifts of Love(located in clive) on January 16th and we were accepted into the agencies program on January 22nd! So..the paperchase begins. It’s so scarey—I hope it doesn’t all fall apart on us—you never know. But I just know in my heart this is what God has in his plan for us—so that keeps me sane!

Most likely the timeline is as follows:

We have to get our Dossier done and sent to China with the June 15th group of applications! (Dan turns 50 on August 18th and they just changed the rules to not allow any applications if one parent is over 50!)
This will allow us to get logged-into the waiting list in China (called the LID Date) before Dan’s birthday and keep us qualified under the new rules. This is the big reason we moved on this now—and it’s a good thing.
With that log-in date—a referal of a child to us from China takes roughly 12-14 months from there. So we’re looking at a referral sometime between June 2008-August2008. Seems like a long way away right now—but...I’m sure it will go faster than we ever realize.

Of course all this is contingent on us passing the home study, references etc.....it’s amazing the scrutiny they put you through—although I understand—it’s odd opening so much of your life to complete strangers to evaluate! yipes...:) All worth it though.