Wednesday, October 30, 2013

So I painted a piano...

A few months ago we were having dinner at a friend's house. As my kids were hammering away on the old piano there, I mentioned that one day I would like to have piano so that the kids and I can learn how to play. My dear friend said that this one belonged to her mother in law and if the house they were living in ever sold (it was her mother-in-laws house) she would probably sell me the piano. The piano still played well but needed a bit of TLC in the looks department. I may have uttered something about painting it.

Fast forward a few weeks. Aforementioned conversation forgotten. My friend lets me know that (surprise!) the house sold incredibly quickly and they are moving out in a few weeks. Do I still want the piano? Rational part of the brain says: you don't even know if pianos can be painted, you already have 12 other projects to work on, the kids aren't going to playing for a few more years, you are about to bring your third child home from china and you should not be spending your time doing this, you are probably just going to leave it in the house unpainted for the next thousand weeks. My answer: when else am I going to get a piano so cheap, of course I want it!

So, 2 weeks later four very strong men bring said piano to our house and place it in the garage. Thankfully the bookcase I had been painting for Lilys room had just vacated the spot, but Brian's jeep was relegated to the driveway for the indefinite future.

Now to decide on a color! I knew the piano would go in the front living room with our green couches so I needed it not to clash. I definitely wanted it to be bright though. So I decided on a bright mint green. I know this may not sound like a real color, but I found just what I was looking for! The next several days were spent in the garage sanding, priming, painting, and repainting. Thankfully the weather finally started to cool off so the kids were able to play outside while I worked. Two weeks later it was ready! I love how it turned out!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

When are you going to China?

This is the question that we hear more than any other. And unfortunately, it's the hardest one to answer! Now that we have our LOA, we can more accurately predict when we will be traveling. Of course, nothing is certain until we can actually book our plane tickets, which will be a week or 2 before we actually leave. But here's a timeline of the final steps to give you a better idea of what happens now.

  • We file our I800 application with USCIS. It usually takes 2 weeks for approval (we got approval yesterday, in 13 days!)
  • We get our visa approval from the NVC in China. This takes 5-7 days.
  • Our agency "drops off" article 5 at the CCAA. It takes two weeks to be processed and then we have article 5 pick up.
  • We await travel approval (TA) from the Chinese government and schedule our consulate appointment (CA) for when we are in China. This usually takes 2-3 weeks.
So, there is a total of 7-8 weeks before we receive TA and can book our flights and go! We are praying that our wait times are on the short end of things taking us closer to 7 weeks (another adoptive family we know got TA in only 3 days!) We plan to leave as soon as we can after TA which might mean that we leave a week (or possibly even less!) after that. We are really praying that we can travel over Thanksgiving, but if not then it will be in early December. We know that God has perfect timing, and we are praying that his timing involves Thanksgiving!

Here's a helpful diagram that documents the entire China adoption process. Please note that this is only applicable to China, other countries have different steps and timelines. We are on step 10 right now, should be on step 11 in less than a week!


Yes, I realize this post is a few weeks late, but things have been busy and I just got around to publishing it!

September 23, 2013

This morning Caroline and I were at home getting ready to head out the door to her dance class. She decided to throw a fit about having to wear her dance outfit at the same time that our home phone rang. We never use our home phone, it's really just the number we give to people we don't want to talk to. (Solicitors, people, none of you of course.) Well apparently we gave it to our adoption agency too. I grabbed the phone and ran in my closet to avoid the screaming coming from C's room while holding my breath. I figured the only two things they'd be calling about would be to give me news about the typhoon that hit the day before or that our LOA had finally come. Sure enough, our LOA was showing up in the system!!! After 160 long days of waiting (the average wait is 50-60 days) we were moving forward again!

Of course at this point we really have to leave, so after an excited conversation and a few instructions from our agency I grabbed Caroline, told her that Lily's paperwork that we had been praying for every day finally came, and ran out the door. I called Brian from the car, and called him, and called him, until he finally picked up. It may have been the CALL ME NOW text I sent him that did the trick. I told him the good news through tears, and he was ecstatic! Then I had to compose myself and go into C's class. I texted and posted the news on facebook, still in disbelief that this had actually happened. Amanda called me from her grandfather's funeral after she got her good news (their LOA showed up too) and we cried laughed and cried together. The rest of the day we sent each other "OMG" and "Holy cow!" texts.

While our wait was crazy, ridiculously long, I know that it was all in God's timing. Originally we thought that we'd be traveling to China in September, so back in March I signed up for a half marathon November 9th. The longer our wait got, the higher the chance that I wouldn't be able to do the race. Brian also has his annual ophthalmology conference November 13-15. Almost all of our friends from residency were going, but we were a maybe since we didn't know our travel plans. Again, the longer our wait got, the higher the chance that we wouldn't get to go. A few weeks ago I felt like God was telling me that we would travel over Thanksgiving. But, the longer our wait got, the less likely that seemed. Now that our LOA is actually here, we are better able to predict our travel dates. Get this: not only did God work it so that I can run my race (and not have to worry about training in China), Brian and I can attend his conference without kids, and no one will have their birthday in China (mine is Nov 2 and my mom's is Nov 19), but there is a definite possibility that we will be traveling over Thanksgiving! That means Brian misses less work, the kids miss less school, and there's a chance that my dad can come with us as well! There are a few more steps that have to happen before we can book flights and go get our girl, but we are praying that they all line up so that we leave the week of Thanksgiving. Also, did you know that Thanksgiving is really late this year? It's November 28th. Usually it's like the 23rd or 24th. Coincidence? I don't think so!

We (shockingly) had more paperwork to complete, so we headed to the UPS store with our LOA in hand and our I800 application. Poor Caroline thought that since Lily's paperwork had come that meant she was coming home now, and when we got to the UPS store she asked where Lily was. Soon, sweet girl, very soon!