Over the last couple of weeks we have hit two more steps in the process. We received our I-800 immigration approval for T. That paper and other supporting documents were then sent over to our adoption agency's representative in China who in turn took them to the some office (immigration in China - at least I think that's where it goes). This step has happened.
After a short time there, it was picked up and taken to the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China. Ten business days later (we are at day 2 now), we will receive notification (called the Article 5 - scheduled around 1/23) that the paperwork has moved from the US Consulate to the CCCWA (China's Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption). So this is what we are waiting on now.
Two to five weeks later we will receive our TA (Travel notification)! This will give us a window of travel choices. Once we choose one, a CA (consulate appointment - for T's visa out of China) is made and the trip is planned around that. We have already had one phone conference regarding what to expect in China and will probably have one more regarding the actual travel and trip.
Hard to believe...we are hoping for travel in mid-March!!
In the meantime, we received 7 new PRECIOUS photos of T receiving her care package from us. Not sure if I mentioned it but after receiving our Letter of Acceptance from China, we were given permission to send out a care package. We sent her a photo album of our family - with her picture included, a cake, a doll and stuffed panda, a disposable camera (for her foster family to document life there and special people in T's life, for us to develop and keep as a momento of her life in China), and a short letter of appreciation to her foster family for the love and care they have given our little girl during her time with them. The photos we received were too cute - and so special - we have photos of her foster parents who look very sweet and attentive to our daughter. So wish I could post them - if you are local, ask me - I have copied them onto my phone and I'd love to share!
It is still so hard to think of what "gotcha day" will be like for T. She is only 5 and has probably no memory of not being with her foster family (she has only been in two homes - this one for quite a long time and she is very attached to her foster mom). I know it is going to be so very hard - we are prepared. But it still will be emotionally hard on all of us - especially her, and there will be much grieving.
We know what we are doing is right. Her future as an orphan (and she is still considered one there despite being in a foster home) is limited. Many times, orphans - especially those with special needs (T does have some minor special needs), are considered bad luck - this affects the schooling they are given, the jobs they are likely to achieve, their overall status in society.
The name given to her - her "last" name - is given to all the children who are orphans in her county. The name is actually part of the word name for the county. This identifies her as an abandoned child. Many times, foster care parents do go on to adopt the children that they foster. I am assuming that in her case, her foster parents did not opt for this since she was available for adoption. Being a foster child, like in this country, does not mean you will live indefinitely in the home you are in. Moving from home to home is always a possibility. We all know the implications of what this can do to a child.
So even tho' we know we are doing a wonderful thing for T, the thought of taking her away from all she has known, when she can't possibly have a full understanding of the gift that it is at this time, is heartbreaking to us. Nevertheless, I am filled with awe that God has led us again to this and that each step has been pretty flawless (so different from out Ethiopian adoption where we experienced much stress and many delays and hiccups). We are praying for her little heart - and ask that you will too.
I am giddy - it's like when I found out I was pregnant with each of my four bio kids. I am stunned and so amazingly excited to be a mom again! I am not going to publish my age (for fear of horrifying you!! lol), but I am not a young chicken anymore. God is wonderful and because I know that children are one of the most special blessings he can give, I feel so overwhelmed to be given the chance to mother another!
We are deep in homeschool (each January I tweak our curriculum, begin some new ideas, and change it up a bit - so lots of new "homework" for me), new activities starting up, new exercise regimes and home organizing and cleaning out (January and Pinterest always inspire me), and planning for another little one to move into the girls' room. John has a new loft to build for the girls' room (will show pics when it is all ready!), and I have to put together T's wardrobe (won't need to buy a thing - we have so many wonderful clothes from friends - thank you!). We expect one more update on T - her sizes and more personal info about her personality - can't wait - that should come in Feb.
So that's all the latest.
We are still fundraising - if you took one of our "Cha-ching for Ting" banks, we are hoping to complete that fundraiser in the following weeks. We have already filled a large jug with the change that has come in and will be rolling those coins soon to make room for more! Thank you to all who have so graciously collected your change for us. Every bit will help!
Also, we still have our "chip-in" on the side of our blog (up top and only will be seen if you view our blog on your computer - it won't show on ipads or phones). Although our puzzle piece donations are complete (and we hope to have the puzzle done soon), we are still taking donations toward the huge travel and in-country expenses we will have, through the chip-in.
We are still selling coffee and t-shirts - also on the side panel of the blog. Clicking on either button will take you to our store. We will receive a portion of your purchases toward our adoption.
We have been so blessed by so many of you throughout this process. To see how God has moved so many hearts to help a little girl have a forever family is so humbling and has been so assuring to us that God is with us through this - He is for us and will provide for all the many things we will need to be her parents and family - not just with the money to accomplish this mission - but with the skills and love necessary to parent her!