Wednesday, June 27, 2007

USCIS processing is taking exta long lately...

6.27.07: I stopped by to pick up a book from the library at GOL yesterday and Beth said for some reason USCIS is taking extra long. But she's keeping an eye on china's turn time for the log-ins of dossiers. They sent over a couple dossiers last week, so she's tracking the timeframe (I'm jealous--I wish ours was in there with those dossiers from last week). Oh well...keep plugging. By the way--I started reading the book "Culture Shock:China", it's all about China, it's history, economy, politics, culture etc. It's fabulous! It's my morning read. Anyone looking to learn more about China should read it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Fears Calmed again....

6.25.07: I learned something new today--I was concerned about the report there are more "PAP's" than children in China--as written in my previous e-mail. But my agency tells me, "There are thousands of dossiers CCAA has accepted in the past couple of years and there are thousands of children available. The key is that CCAA has to go through the proper procedures to verify the child has been abandoned and is available for adoption (which I understand takes roughly 6 months to process the child from abandonment day to approved to adopt day). Everyday more children become available in the social welfare institutes." So that's a relief, of course nothing is for sure. But, information (correct information) is power.

Still no I-171H (bet you're as sick of reading it as I am writing it). I pray it will be here tomorrow. Beth assures me we will be ok on the deadline. So...have faith in her and God to let it all happen as it should. Yes it will.
6.25.07: No word yet on the I-171H--I did email Beth at GOL this morning to get information on what she can do. Also asked what we needed to do to expedite the paperwork to China if infact, the form comes this week. I also read another alarming report this week online--I've heard this reported from good sources before--but I blew it off--that they didn't know what they were talking about. Surely, our agency would tell us if that was the case. So--I have emailed Beth about this too--the report is: According to: Lillian Thogersen who has adopted eight children internationally, and is the CEO of WACAP (World Association for Children and Parents), a nonprofit adoption agency based in Renton. As reported in the Seattle Times--"...In the case of China, there are far more prospective adoptive parents than children available for adoption. Appropriately, the Chinese government has implemented more selective standards for income and health status, seeking parents it judges to be best able to provide for a child's long-term needs.".....I'll keep everyone posted on what my agency reports. They say to run all internet rumors through them. Truly--no one knows what's going on better than licensed agencies. They are the only one's with direct communication with China. I pray.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Still no I-171H!

6.22.07: Now I'm getting super nervous. It's been 15 days since we had our prints done. Martine and Nate's I-171H came within a few days of their appointment to get printed! Is there some strange black mark on our record we don't know about? Geezzz...I think I'll email Beth today to see what her thoughts are. She's the expert--and knows timing way better than I. Even if the paperwork came today--it doesn't look like we'll hit the end of June group. So I don't know what we'll do now. But--Beth will take care of us..I have faith...just no patience.

Busy, busy day yesterday--worked ferverishly on the wedding edition of nora's books--7am-10pm with only a 1-hour break for lunch and water flowers while I gobbled my sandwich.

We're headed to the speedway in newton for the Corn INDY 250--the top open wheel contender racers are going to be there--we've never been--and we've always wanted to. So we're going both Saturday and Sunday.Saturday Three-Dog-Night is in concert there. Our seats are way UP HIGH--which is good for racing--not so good for a concert--but it will be fun anyway--they're a band I LOVED back in my day. We're going to tailgate lunch and dinner both days--and we got a couple of those bench statdium chairs to save our backs--otherwise we thought it would be a long day. We got a black on and a red one (for the huskers). Wishful thinking that we'll be able to attend another huskers game.

My sister and her husband visit next weekend! I'm soooo excited. Hurrying to get my work done--so i can take off and be 100% with them. We can't wait.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Did I appreciate him enough...

6.20.07: They say--those that are sensitive to spiritual feelings most often had a near death experience. Hmmmm..I thought--I've always been what I like to call "very sensitive" to things. From silly things like "telling a customer at the deli I worked at what they wanted to order before they ordered". To telling a complete stranger their life story in a snapshot. Knowing someones birthday--for no reason. Of course I'm horrible at sending wishes on peoples birthdays. How's that make sense. My life is full of those "special moments". Some deeper than knowing the "un-knowable". Like the day I met my husband, I smelled my grandmother and my grandfather (both deceased at the time), while driving my car to Grand Island, Nebraska for a friends wedding--I would meet Dan (my husband now) that night. It was the perfect lilac smelling perfume of my grandmother and the distinctive cherry tabacco smell of my grandfathers pipe. When it happened, I got this overwhelming sense of "it's going to be a very special week-end"--and it surely was. Those of you that know me--know there are regular events like this. The reason for this entry is in all these events--I never understood the "gift". But I think it might be because I almost died...twice...and my father saved me both times. My mother tells me he spent his life--creating a safe environment for me--concerned about any discomfort I might encounter. I went to the bottom of a lake at the young age of 4 or 5. Thankfully, my mother was a lifeguard and pulled me out--my father was a policeman trained in CPR and literally breathed life back into my little body. Another time, I had an allergic reaction to a afternoon play in a cornfield--hives broke out around my neck, the swelling was cutting off my airway. I ran home to tell my Dad, "Daddy I can't breath too good." Again--he had EMT training (he was on ski patrol and a policeman), and knew he needed to get me to the hospital right away. I remember him looking at me and saying, "Honey, we're going for a ride in daddy's cruiser. And we're going to put the lights on and everything." Once at the hospital, the doctors said I wouldn't have made it if we had waited for an ambulance (they didn't administer drugs on ambulances back then). This all sounds silly I'm sure--but it occured to me just this morning--"Did I appreciate him enough?" "Did he need to be appreciated--or did he feel he was just doing what came soooo naturally to him--being a great dad?" I remember a couple days before he died--we knew it wasn't long now. I had just called to check on him. We visited shortly and then I hung up. Suddenly, I had this rush of, if I were to never see or talk to him again--what would I be sorry I didn't say. It wasn't "I love you", we said that plenty--and showed it. It was "Dad, I'm going to miss you so much." So I called him right back and told him--he said, "Ah, I'll miss you too babe." We talked for another hour or more. I asked him why he never wore a wedding ring. He always said it was because he was an electrician and it was dangerous. But that night, he ordered my mom to go look for it in his jewelry box. I heard her in the background telling him, "Lyle we sold that ring years ago to feed the family--don't you remember?". Amazing. How many others things should have been said? How many things don't need to be said? In any case, if he was here today, and I tried to tell him how much I appreciated all the times he "saved" me. I realized there really are no words. We butted heads a lot--we were a lot alike in tempermant and personality--but he was the one I called from several payphones on my trip across the country--to tell him all about how gorgeous it was. He was the one I had after an exhilerating day of white water rafting down the lower Kern River. I remember he said, "there's nothing better than to see life through the eyes of your children. Thank you for sharing it with me." I do believe he's with me today--sometimes more than he was when he was alive. Seems today is a "Dad" day--as I didn't sit down to write about all this at all. It just came out this way. A few things to share with my daughter when she gets here. I can't wait to tell her all the stories (and repeat a couple of them I'm sure--it's the Cota way".

She woke me out of deep sleep....

6.20.07: One night months before we started our adoption journey, I was awakened out of a deep sleep. I was fast asleep on my stomach, when this little girls face appeared. It was clear as day, alarmingly so. I was so surprised, I opened my eyes and lifted my head up, and squinted to clear the clouds from my sleepy eyes--was it real? Who is she? She had dark brown/black hair with a very slight curl to it, she had dark brown eyes, with just a hint of round to them, her complexion was "apricot", she a small gentle smile, that was rather sad. In my dream she appeared to be roughly 3 or 4 years old. There were several dreams to follow of little girls reaching out to me asking me to take them home. I don't recall their faces, just their actions. I dream so much (almost every night). As a child I remember asking my mom if I could shut off my brain--stop thinking? Silly. She would advise me to just relax and let go of my thoughts and drift off to rest--I try--every night--it doesn't work most times. I like to believe it's the creative side of me--it never stops creating. It was not long later we saw that news program by Paula Zahn about China changing their regulations--which moved us to act on this idea of adopting. Where my dreams laying the ground work for what was to come. Who knows--but it sure did feel like it in my heart and my head.

Surely one of these days....soon!

6.20.07: Ok...so I'm enjoying being an expectant adoptive parent. But....I must say yesterday the mailbox trip was most disappointing. Not only was there no letter from USCIS, but all that was there was a Hyvee flyer! Not even an studio business. I know...be patient. I had a really busy day yesterday, catching up on a bunch of small projects loose ends.

Today, I'm finalizing the design for a wedding planner. It's a fun project, but one I wanted to give a focused chunk of time to. I've done some prelims--but need to finalize it. The book is due by the end of July, and my sister and her husband are visiting for a week--and I'm determined to take the week off!

I also must get the adoption photo layout done. I don't know why this part has been so hard for me--afterall it's the creative piece in our dossier.

I've been dreaming a lot about family lately--my Uncle John, my Aunt Joanne, my dear, dear Dad (I dreamed that I could wish him not to die and he didn't!) Don't I wish. It breaks my heart that he will never know my daughter. He was an amazing man--so I'll have to settle for teaching her about him--like my mom did her dad--through stories. Which is especially appropriate--as he was the "king-of-story-telling". I know he is with me everyday. I just so wish he was still with us. Many times when I think, write or talk about him, I weep. Will that ever stop? Will the hole that was created in my heart ever go away? He was such a big "family" guy--he raised us that family is EVERYTHING. So maybe that's why the hole is still there--it's a hole in my families heart--where he lives. Enough of that. Don't know where that came from--Dad I guess.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Two Families from our Agency are traveling to China this week.

6.19.07: Two families from our agency traveled together to China to get their daughters within the last week. They are chronicling their journey on two blogs. I'm especially fascinated with their blogs--as their experience will be as close to ours as I can get. Although they are all different--this is pretty neat to watch. If you'd like to follow along their blogs are at:

http://www.ourfamilyadoptionjourney.blogspot.com/ (a couple with 3 biological children)

http://journeytomydaughter.blogspot.com/ (a single mom)

Take a Deep Breath and Enjoy....

6.19.07: After a quick stop at GOL the other day--it occured to me I won't always be a childless woman, waiting for her daughter to arrive. And it seemed to me--like all things--one day, I would wish I had enjoyed this journey more. So, I've been trying to relax and enjoy. I love it when people ask me about our journey and the progress. I love looking at little girl things and reading the parents magazines our friend Shayna so generously shared with us. I love dreaming about being a mom. It's funny--it reminds me of how fun it was to scan the Sears Catalog for the perfect item to ask Santa for. I don't know what was more fun--wishing or getting it. Both I think--which is precisely my point today. Of course, I've been wishing for a family since the young age of 5, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I'd say, "a mommy". Then I proceeded to reject any dolls or toy doll houses, I wanted to do real dishes, real laundry and real housework. Although--I must admit one of my favorite toys of all time was my easy-bake-oven. This need for real mommy duties was so great--I decided to assist my mom with the laundry. We had an old "wringer washer" and I was fasinated how when mom would put the clothes between the rollers the water would run out as the clothes ran through. I still can see my mom's hands catching the clothes on the other side, putting them into a basket and hanging them to dry outside. Which is precisely when I decided it was my chance to try my hand at it. How hard could it be? I was a big girl. I picked an item out of the tub and put it in the wringer--just like mom had done. But, I was so intrigued by the water squeezing out--I forgot to let go of the clothing and my arm when into the wringers. I let out a yelp! More scared than anything else--my mom came to the rescue and reminded me, "I'm not a mommy yet--someday though, I would be old enough to help, but for now, I should leave the laundry to her." After that trauma--I did. There isn't a time I load my washer I don't think of that day. Now I'm old enough to do laundry--and dream of having some little items to wash. Silly girl. :)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Harley!

6.15.07 It seems my angels were again on target with their whispers of "I can do it". This week was a whirlwind that seemed to get stronger and stronger, culminating on Friday with the news from a new client that offers the opportunity to provide their print clients with creative design services. To go one step further, they had their second meeting with the local Harley Davidson Dealer in town and it seems, I just might have the chance to so something with them! The last time I was this excited was the day I was awarded the opportunity to design for the Holocaust Museum. I can hardly believe it. My other new client, also sold an ad and a possible VERY good client located in Dubuque, they own a high end spa and want to bring Dan and I up there to check it out and see what I can do for them. Whew. I'm so fortunate. The real questions is--should we name her "Harley"...? It's such a good day--right now it seems perfect.

No word from USCIS on the I-171H yet. Hmmmm....maybe it will be in the mail today. Just maybe. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Got a feeling....

6/14/07: I've been so stressed lately, I haven't been able to sleep very good. Lots of nightmares, and they seem soooo real. Worried about money, worried about just about everything. Although, I know it's silly--and does me no good to do so. But the other night, I cuddled up with my big guy on one side of me and my montana on the other, to put my head down for the evening and this sense of "I can do it" ran through me. It was such a soothing feeling. For the first time since I started my own business and ventured forth to build a family through adoption--I felt like "it's going to happen"--it's all going to be ok. What a relief. Although, I know neither of these adventures in our lives will be easy--it's comforting to know--my angels believe it WILL happen. They have never lead me astray. Even delivering bad news when I need to know--be prepared.

I also have a feeling we will get a referral on my Dad's birthday July 19, 2008. Or should I say, something significant will happen that day. Just another thought that ran through my silly heart. He's so, so dear to me, and he seems to often orchestrate a song of life for me. He always had the answers when he was here...and it seems now that he's moved on to heaven, he still does. I just have to listen a little closer to hear him.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fingerprints! June 7, 2007

We did it! It took all of about 15 minutes and we loaded the parking meter with 2 hours of time. Rather be safe than sorry. It was a pretty neat process. You have to have moist fingertips for the electronic scanner to see your prints. Dan's hands were so dry--it took a couple doses of lotion (the old fashioned cornhusker kind) and a few repeat scans. But we got them all done. I was so excited. I said, "well Dan, I guess we can't commit any crimes now". Just kidding. All in all, it was a very professional and friendly experience. There were a few other non-american folks there--I'd imagine working on becoming citizens. All I can say is, "I'm sooo glad I'm American". Now it's another waiting game for the I-171H form. Then more waiting for the authentication and then finally off to China. It will be 6 months since we started this journey on the 16th of this month. It's been too long already. But, it's normal. Or so it is in the adoption world.