Monday, July 31, 2006

Referral Day for everyone!!!

I love referral day-even though our referral day is soooooooooooooooooooooo far away. This has been like anticipating Christmas morning waiting to hear about everyone's referral. Karen over at "Naked Ovary" finally received her good news about her beautiful bouncing baby girl-go check it out-you won't believe that any work was done across the country-because everyone was pushing their refresh button, and waiting with bated breath until the stork landed. and see how many comments she got in just one day-I think it must have been over a 1000!!
I am not sure any baby in the world has been as anticipated as Maya-okay well I guess there was a lot of anticipation over Suri, and Shiloh being born-but that doesn't count. So let's make this official: we will name July 31, 2006 as Happy Maya Day-and boy is she going to be excited when she sees her closet!!! Anyway, to everyone out there that should have received their referral-I shed a little tear for you, and tell you with HIGH hopes that you're next-especially M3 over at Mary Mia-You are next, so come down your the next contestant.....
Happy Referral day to everyone!!!Congratulations to everyone who saw their child for the first time today-happy dance, happy dance!!

I really love how excited everyone gets for each other on referral day-we are all such teamplayers don't you think??

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Connor's 19th birthday

Well what do you do to celebrate your son's 19th birthday? You ask him what he would like to do-Good Answer! His response: I would like to go to Medieval Times. Okay, are you 9 or are you 19? If you don't know what Medieval Times is-it is a dinner theatre that recreates the "Medieval Period" with Knights, Horses, and A Royal Family to boot. It includes dinner that you eat with your hands-yeah no utensils. You are assigned a knight, and that is your team and who you will cheer for. We luckily had the brazen yellow and red knight. In the end he won, and was the tournament victor. To my surprise it was fun, entertaining, expensive, and fun was had by all-especially by the 19 year old, and our "adopted" son Zac. Posting a few pictures for you to see how much fun can be had when given a paper crown, and an $8 sword that lights up.
Well good night! Happy Birthday Connor, we had a blast with you on your birthday!
Connor is wearing the red t-shirt.

Must celebrate the little milestones too!!

One of the bumps in our road has been that after we ordered our state certified copy of our marriage license from the State of Hawaii, and then sent it off to Los Angeles to be authenticated by the Chinese Consulate-we discovered that for 10 years there has been a typo on our license. Now it is minor-they transposed two letter's in my mother's maiden name, which is really not that big of a deal-well until you decide you want to adopt a baby from China. So after $66 and 4 weeks of waiting the first time-we decided that while we waited for some other things to move forward(not pointing any fingers-INS) that we would just go ahead and request a new one with the correction made. Well, what took 27 days to do in April-took exactly 58 days to accomplish this time, and they still charged us $66-But it finally arrived today! Yeah-bells,whistle's and the mailbox happy dance. So now we just sit and wait, and pace until that little piece of paper from the INS shows up-and then things are really going to start moving. I want to send a shout out to my friend Marney in Missouri-they received that little piece of paper from the INS today-after waiting 8 weeks and 2 days. Her party is just getting started.
Anyway, it was fun to get something that we needed in the mail today-hasn't happened in awhile-love filing something away in "The Book"
Good night
We are still hopeful for an Aug DTC

Friday, July 28, 2006

What is in a name?

Now clearly the name of our blog address is Averyrock. So it would appear that it has been written in stone-or at least in blog that we are naming our future daughter Avery. I will go so far to commit to; we feel very strongly about the name Avery, and "D" and I only refer to her as Avery. But we don't feel certain enough to call Crane, and have her stationary printed quite yet. Pretty much everyone in the family has an opinion of what her name should be. Avery is the top pick for D and me right now, Taylor prefers Paige, or Mackenzie, My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are deadset on Mackenzie,and only refer to her by that name. Then there is Connor who lovingly refers to her as Ling Ling, and finally there is my brother-in-law Jay who if given the choice of naming our daughter would pick-drum roll please.....Dagmar. Okay, so Connor and Jay have lost the opportunity to name our child or any child for that matter(Grinning) Now David and I have a short list of names, none of which I will bore you with. That is not for any other reason then it would be boring-but certainly not because we are worried that someone might use "our" name. Now that is a funny premise to me-women have heard it all their lives-as little girls we play house or dolls and Barbies-we name them all the names we love, and we'll certainly save those same names for our future daughters. But when one of our friends likes that same name we respond with "that's my name" Now fast forward to pregnant women who have become very territorial with impending names, in fact you can barely pry the potential names out of them for fear that again someone might "steal" their name. Like most little girls I too had those names picked out for my dolls or for my role in "house" one being Matty-but we chose to name our dog that-so it's taken. Now in the adoption world the name thing doesn't seem to be quite as secretive. Most everyone we have met or encountered have their name picked out, and are more than willing to share the good news with you. Blogs are named, people refer to their child by name, personalization in rooms are made. Again we are not certain enough to do anything permanent, not sure we will be able to do that until we see our referral picture-she just might not be an Avery-which in that case we will have to move through the short list quickly. But I ( "I" is the key word here-David hasn't spent one moment with this worry or angst) will say one of the things I am struggling with regarding names is...I am a BIG monogram person. So what her monogram looks like is a very important part of picking out her name. I will say we seem to have a few "A" names on the burner right now, and the letter A presents a problem for her monogram. I love Avery Elizabeth, but then her mono will be "A R E" then we talked about Avery Magee well that brings us to "ARM" okay what about Avery Claire, then we have "ARC" I will admit for most, this would not even be an issue until they had their first set of stationary ordered. But being that I would like to have virtually everything in my house monogramed, this is a source of angst and worry. Like we don't have conflict in the Middle East to worry us. Anyway, if you have any further suggestions for us on a good name or resolution to the monogram issue, we would love the help. As for loving the name Avery, if this is a name you hadn't thought of, and have now decided you love it too- name away I think there is room in the world for a couple of Avery's!!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Waiting, and Waiting, and Waiting.

Only other adoptive families understand when you say that we have been waiting almost 5 weeks for our I-171H to arrive. For everyone else out there-this is an approval from the INS saying they have cleared you for adoption, and you will be allowed to bring an orphaned child into the country. So this is a VERY critical piece of paper. We are at a standstill in the process until this arrives. So bring it on!!! Part of this approval process is getting your fingerprints done for the FBI-which involves going to the INS service center(let me remind you again that we live in TX) so that gives you a feel for the fact that we were the only people there getting our prints done for adoption. Lucky for us it wasn't busy when we arrived on this early Saturday morning. We were taken straight back, David with one guy, and me with another. But of course I was assigned to the guy that was working his first day-yeah that's right his first day on the job. "D" was finished in about 3 1/2 minutes flat-so he comes around to watch the "new guy" try to get my prints. 20 minutes later when the "new guy" is still trying to get my prints-"new guy" turns to me and says "WOW, you have really worn prints-what do you do for a living?" Well my initial excitement over the mere prospect of getting our appt. for fingerprinting-has diminished to a quivering lip, and tears welling up in my eyes. The "new guy" is now sensing my imminent meltdown, and goes to get a "more experienced" fingerprint expert. When he arrives he looks at the computer and sees that "new guy" has only been able to get 4 out of 10 of my prints to register. So here we go again-we roll, and we roll, and we roll. He finally gets all 10 prints on the screen. He then says "well we will just have to wait and see how it turns out" "you have pretty bad prints-but we will just hope for the best" WHAT?????? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???????? Clearly he was not understanding that as the days tick by in this process it is only getting longer-I am suppose to have an Aug LID-doesn't he know that? I don't have time for "let's just wait and see" Let's consider for just a second; if I had robbed a bank to pay for our adoption-CSI would be able to find me within the hour. I am certain of that-it happens on every episode-they have a "partial print" and they always find them. Okay, I watch too much television. But I do have a point there. Well it has been 3 weeks since that appt. and in the mean time I have not heard from them telling me that the prints were not accepted-so I think we must be in the clear. But initially after this incident I posted on my adoption board to ask if anyone had any experience with this circumstance. I received a fair amount of replies-everyone trying to make me feel better, and telling me to not worry it would be fine. Then about 3 days later some guy post a reply to tell me that the exact same thing had happened to them-his wife was a chemist, and had burned most of her prints off-He started his post with "Do Not Panic" he tells me how there is a process where you are rejected 3 times, and then you go for an interview with the FBI-then he finishes off by saying it only set them back 4 MONTHS!! Okay, it was an out of body experience for me to read this post-my head just about spun off my body! I couldn't believe this guy was telling me this-and I knew full well that his wife would kill him if she knew he had said DO NOT PANIC, and it only set us back 4 MONTHS in the same post to an adoptive mother. Well it took about a week, and several glasses of wine for me to get over this. So as I said it has been 3 weeks since the prints-and it really has been 5 weeks tomorrow since they received our paperwork. Just like everything else in adoption there is really no way to know when this approval might arrive. Some people have gotten theirs in 10 days, others have waited 10 weeks. I have convinced my crazy little brain that I shouldn't even start looking until around Aug 10th-that would be 7 weeks for processing-and if it were to arrive that week-I think we are still good for an AUG LID. This process is all about waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more. So we are just going to wait, and wait and wait some more. We can WAIT with the best of them.
the waiting mom

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Have you ever just wondered??

I have read so many websites, and blogs of families that are adopting. I tend to stay focused on families adopting from China-I feel like it offers us the best information regarding our particular situation. David likes to chime in that I have become a stalker of all things Chinese-I would argue that it is not stalking it is gathering information. Anyway, I just thought if you follow along our road to China that you might like a little background information on our family.
"D" and I will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary in October-WOW! Now in the this world we live in today-10 years that might as well be eternity. Anyway, we have actually been together for 14 years. We met in 1992 on a Delta Airlines flight from Phoenix to Dallas-I realize that it might sound destined, and romantic like. However, it was really anything but romantic. There is a little tidbit of personal information I should share at this point. "D" was a passenger on the flight, and I was a working flight attendant. I was a DAL flight attendant for 16 years, and just recently left my job to pursue this journey to China. Anyway, back to the story. "D" was commuting to PHX Monday thru Fri, and I was flying the same trip that whole summer-well I met him the first time he was on my flight, and let's just say that we met during the boarding process on a VERY full flight. David who has a bad back doesn't sit down until the last possible second-well that meant he kept being in my way of lugging all of the excess baggage up the aisle for it to be checked. Everytime I would say excuse me I need to get by, he would just give me this really sour look. So finally after like 3 times of this exchange, I being the 24 year old with ZERO responsibility in my life other than paying rent and showing up to work with my uniform and suitcase gave him my view on the day...."wipe that sourpuss look off your face, we get to Dallas before Happy Hour ends" Well let's just say that really garnered me a big SOUR look. So to make a long story even longer our next meeting was just a mere hour later when I was running out my 127 meals(gosh I sure miss the days of airline food-oh I forgot we don't have airline food anymore!!)I get to "Mr. D" and put his tray down, and he says " I think I have a special meal" well..of course you do, you are already so special "Mr. D". Well we didn't have his special meal, and I must say he was very nice about it-yes-that might surprise you that everyone is not so nice when you tell them that you don't have their cold seafood meal, and now you will have to eat the common, cold turkey sandwich like everyone else. As we neared Dallas, and we finished our service. I was hanging out in first class-no not because it is the place to be, mostly because there is actually a place to stand where no one is standing making small talk while they wait for the bathroom and ask you for another tomato juice. Anyway, the very SHY "Mr. D" found his way up to F/C to seek out the brunette with the BIG navy hairbow, and dressed in navy polyester. Yes,this is my version of this story(someday I will give "D" the opportunity to share his version of this story with you) But the point being; he came to talk to me. We talked for about 15 min, and discovered that we lived only 5 min from each other, and he said he just wanted to apologize for seeming aggravated during boarding. He gave me his story, which included that when he arrived back in Dallas that he had to drive to Houston-well once again in my irresponsible state of mind-I responded with "oh why would you do that? Houston has not one but two airports and it is further then an hour away" mind you that is how an airline employee decides if they are flying or driving. So that is when he shared the picture of his children (who were 4 & 7 at the time), and said he was taking them down there to see his parents who live on a horse ranch, and they had a horse that was getting ready to give birth to a colt-and he wanted them there for that experience. So needless to say, at this point I have no idea why this guy is talking to me, he is married with children for goodness sakes. But he then got around to telling me that he was divorced, and working in PHX. He asked if I got to PHX often-which surprisingly I did-my roommate was from Scottsdale. So he said if I got out that way to give him a call, and we could go to dinner...but we live 5 min apart??? Well as this story has gone on far too long I will get to the point. After weeks of my flight attendant friends referring to my very sweet husband as "slimy married business man" and several inquiries, and phone calls made on David's part, we finally started talking on the phone regularly. He continued being on my flights, and my girlfriends will tell you that they always knew if "Mr. D" was booked on the flight from PHX-DFW because I would primp the entire flight from SLC-PHX. After 3 months of flights, and phone calls, and very nice notes,we finally went on our first date in Aug,1992. It has really been history since. There are some very funny stories that I will share at a later date that actually got us to the serious dating phase. But I can almost say without a doubt in my mind, regardless of the lack of romantic setting, we were destined to meet, and we were meant for each other. I am one lucky girl.


Here is lastest on the CCAA

The question arises virtually everyday, at least a couple of times a day for me. What is the CCAA (The Chinese governing body in charge of international Adoption)doing? How can this process take so long, and if there are thousands of children being abandoned every year, it would seem as though this would take a few months, not the possibility of 18-24 months. While it is easy to explain government bureaucracy, because after going through this process-if you don't believe it exist right here in the good ole USA then, trust me on this one-we have it too. No one wants to help, no one wants to give you any insight to your situation, and you are at their mercy to just "wait until they have it done for you" Give me a break-most of the goverment agencies we have dealt with so far don't even seem to have phone numbers to call to ask a question, much less see where you stand in the process. But come on-if this information that is being released by one of the "big" agency's to their clients- Is true, then wouldn't you suspect that there would be some intervening on the government's part-mind you this is the same government that instituted a "one child" policy that got this ball rolling. Make it rewarding to these orphanages to deliver paper-ready children to the CCAA-it can't be rocket science??? Okay that is my thoughts on this matter, this is a summary of the letter that was sent out. While it does offer some good (well that is a relative term) information. It also leaves you really wondering...What is the CCAA doing???
I would really like to know what the INS is doing with my paperwork-but that is for another day.

*They've been in China for a while, and had opportunity to speak with the CCAA while there.
*They feel that the CCAA is committed to continuing the IA program.
*The CCAA is moving from a four story building into another building where they will occupy 10 stories of office space. Every department will get more space.
*They are also upgrading their computer system to more sophisticated software.
*Relocation has been carefully planned to minimize impact on normal operations.
*When asked, many times, about how much longer the wait will get the answer was consistently that the CCAA has no way to predict it. It depends on how cooperative local governments and orphanages are, how many children they receive every month, and how many dossiers come in on any given day.
*They also state that as they traveledd around China they were very disturbed to see many orphanages with large numbers of children and very passive adoption programs. *One orphanage in particular has at least 1,500 children under their care but they send paperwork in for fewer than three dozen children per year.
*The letter also notes that fewer than a third of all orphanages in China are part of the international program.
*This agency states that they are working hard to educate orphanages on the importance of placing their children in permanent homes - whether that be domestically or internationally.
*The last paragraph is a very sympathetic statement, one I wish I would hear from my own agency. They actually state that it's perfectly normal to be impatient, frustrated, and even angry in this situation over which we (families in waiting) have no control.
*They also say that their information will never be as fast as the internet rumor mills, but that their information will be accurate.

While this is not from my own agency-I would love to get something written from them addressing the concerns that are FLYING around right now. I do feel lucky that we do get a lot of information from the director of our program-but if I hear one more time "that we don't know-we don't have a crystal ball(not from her). Your time will come, and the child that is meant for you will be yours" shall I continue??? We get that,we are being patient; we signed up for adoption didn't we? We also believe that we have a child that is meant for us. But we must have answers to our questions and fears. 18-24 months is a long time for anyone!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Avery's big brother and sister

Taylor and Connor are so excited about Avery's future arrival. Taylor tells everyone about "our baby" that we are going to China to get. She is going to be a great big sister. Connor lovingly refers to Avery as Ling Ling. He will be the Big brother every girl dreams of. They are both such loving, kind people. They are going to be great role models to Avery.

Our feelings for Avery

It often occurs to me that as we are making our way through this journey; that Avery hasn't even been born yet. Her mother is pregnant with her, and unfortunately is praying that she is pregnant with a son, or in a state of panic wondering how she is expected to give up her child if it is not a boy. I am not sure living in our culture that we would ever be able to understand the reality of such wishes and prayers, or of that sacrifice. Regardless of the thousands of times it happens each year in China; a baby being abandoned (which by the way is illegal) each birthmother must just feel a pain in her heart that I would have to assume could never go away. Being a step-mother can only give me a tiny peek into the world of motherhood, but from that peek, and my relationship with my stepchildren I feel very certain that this is nothing but a very painful decision.
So it finds me thinking that if I were to guess, Avery will be born sometime between December 06' and February 07'. I know as that time approaches I will be constantly thinking and praying for Avery's safety, for her health and for her emotional well being. But I will be praying for her mother to find some peace in her decision, and hope that she will know in her heart that there is a family that is counting the days, weeks, months and maybe years before we can go pick Avery up, and bring her home. It breaks my heart to know that I will never be able to thank her for her enormous sacrifice-because of her sacrifice I will receive the greatest gift ever imaginable: motherhood.
Our final decision to adopt was discussed over one profound sentence: Everyone deserves a family. We have a family to offer, and the ability to change the course of someone's life. We don't often get the opportunity to make the world a little better then we found it, but we will take this opportunity and hope that if we can make Avery's world even half as great as she is going to make ours-we will be doing something remarkable.

So our child may not have been born, but we have many wishes for her.

May you always see beauty in the world
and hear music everyday.
May you know the touch of gental hands
and walk the peaceful way.
May the words you speak be loving,
May laughter see you through,
May you be blessed with hope and joy-
These gifts we wish for you.

Theresa May Grass

Friday, July 21, 2006

You're going to do what??

This will be the start of our journey to our new daughter Avery. We started this process really about 14 years ago. We have always discussed adopting from China, and you could say we just never got around to it. But in March/06 we decided we weren't getting any younger, we better get to work if this was really going to come to fruition. So we went to one agencies meeting, and really didn't walk away feeling like it was our place. So we made an appointment with another agency that had been recommended by a friend. We met with the director on Mar 30,06 and we walked away with the paperwork, which we filled out the following week, submitted our application, and started down the long road to China.
In the last 4 months, this has been an emotional journey, full of ups and downs. Mostly ups I would say. The paperwork is a full-time job-but I will say I don't think it is as daunting as it might seem. It has actually gone rather smoothly, with just a bump in the road here and there.
We have received such positive feedback from our friends and family, that it has made up for any frustrations we have had in the process. We are really finished with our end of the paperwork, we are just waiting for our approval from the INS, and then we can proceed with the final stages of preparing our dossier to head to China for translation, and then on to the CCAA where it will be officially logged in. That is when the wait officially begins. Right now that wait from LID to getting a picture of our little girl is approx 12-13 months. So we are hopeful that we will have an Aug/06 LID, and hopefully travel to get her Oct or Nov of 2007. Fingers crossed. We will try to keep everyone up to date on the latest, and give you as much information as we can about the process, China, issues that we are going to have to deal with, and basically everything, and anything you would, or would not want to know. We hope you will follow along for this amazing journey.