Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our dossier is.... (!!)

It's off to CHINA!!

Our paperwork was authenticated in Chicago last week. We had one document (my birth certificate) that had to go New York to be authenticated and it just arrived back to our agency today. Soooooo, everything is totally done here in our country! It should all be logged into China's system in a week or so.

The way things are running in China right now, our best guess as to when we'll be in China is probably close to Feb/March. And it looks like it will likely be March.

Also, we may have new photos of Caleb in a few weeks! A family from my Chengdu Orphanage Yahoo Group will be picking up their child on Nov 9th and is delivering a few small things for us. We sent them these things to deliver to Caleb: a tiny pillow with our photo on it, a matchbox car, stickers, a color wonder packet, and a disposable camera. We asked the family to beg and plead to see Caleb and try to get some photos of him. So, that is what we're looking forward to now! Until then, we are just super excited to finally be on one of the last wait periods. It will be a long wait, but we're getting closer and closer!

In the meantime, we are all spending time learning as much about China as we can right now. We bought a Nintendo DS game that teaches Chinese language and Anna is picking up quite a bit. We are all learning a lot about the history and culture of China from a homeschool curriculum called "A Heart 4 China" by David Quinne. It is so good. Andy and I have learned a ton already. Sadly, most of the history we remember learning in school was American history. China has a such a rich and fascinating history. Much more interesting than learning about Indiana history, I must say! I boycott teaching a year of Indiana history to the kids (it is required in traditional schools to spend 4th grade learning about your state's history). Uggh, you've got to be kidding, a whole year of history spent on our own state? I won't elaborate on that issue. Can you tell I have issues with it?!! Anyway, China. I love it. Can't wait to go there, grab our boy and kiss him tons all over his sweet chubby face!

We're getting closer to that day! julia.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dossier complete and off to Oregon, Chicago and China!

Well, things didn't turn out exactly how we expected this week. But it all ended up fine. The end of the story is that we overnighted our COMPLETED dossier to our adoption agency (in Oregon)yesterday and they got it today!

The abbreviated version of our week is that the CIS lady thought I had set up a UPS account and not a FedEx account (as I had told her), so our approval didn't get to us until Wednesday. That is a story in itself. I specifically asked for the document to be sent with no signature required b/c I knew that it wasn't likely that we would be home on Saturday (which is when it was supposed to arrive). Well, go figure, the CIS lady got that info wrong too and marked "signature required" on the delivery. And, of course, to add to the saga of the CIS paperwork, the FedEx man arrived just as I was getting out of the shower Wednesday morning. The kids were rushing upstairs, "Mommy, mommy, the delivery man is here! He needs you. He keeps knocking and isn't leaving." I tell them (as I stand at the top of the stairs wrapped in a towel) to open the door and get the package. They open the door, but he needs a signature...and apparently a 10 year old's signature doesn't count. Of course. So, I rush around and throw on clothes and ended up with a really bad hair day (b/c if I miss my window of drying my hair, it gets all frizzy and, well, really bad).

Back to the rest of the week...I ended up going downtonw to get all of the papers state certified on Tuesday morning. We were set to send all of our paperwork to our agency on Wednesday, but Andy found one thing missing. He ended up finding the missing document about 11:00pm Wednesday night and then he made a trip downtown Thursday to get it certified. And that was it. More than seven months of paperwork was done. Completely done! I must say, it felt a little strange to send it all away and have no "to do" list hanging over our heads.

Our dossier is on its way to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago today. A copy of it will be in China next week to be translated. Everything should be in China's system in 4-5 weeks. And then we can begin a new waiting period.

Here is Andy holding our completed dossier! (and four copies of the whole thing off to the side).

My thoughts on the whole process: We both felt like you had to be nearly a genius (which neither of us are) to be able to figure out the whole paperwork shuffle, lingo, timeframes and government rules. We are both educated and fairly smart people. And it was not a simple thing to gather what was basically a pile of about 3 dozen papers. As Andy was finalizing all the documents, I couldn't help but think that the stack of papers sure didn't look like something that had taken two grown people seven months to gather. But it did.

And on to Caleb news. I am part of a yahoo group for families that have adopted or are in the process of adopting from the Chengdu orphanage. There is a family that is going to be traveling there in the next few weeks and offered to hand-deliver a gift for anyone that has a child there. So, tomorrow I'm going to commission my mom to make a small pillow with a photo of Andy and me on it. We'll send that to Caleb along with a few other small things. And maybe, just maybe, we'll get more updated photos of him?!

And one more thing. Have you noticed the list of blogs I follow on my sidebar? Well, the Bring the Rain blog lady (Angie) was having a contest to see who had some of the funniest/most emabarrassing kid stories. I sent in a cute story of how Nathan used to think that his name was "Nathan-Andrew-Schmidt-That's-A-No". And I was one of the winners! Yeah! Well, Nathan may have just topped that story with this one today. He was kind of goofily scolding me for something (I don't even know what, dropping a spoon or something?). And he says, "Mommy Kathleen Schmidt!" to me. You know, with the "you're in trouble voice" that moms use. The hilarious thing is that Anna says, "How come he used MY middle name?" Hmm, Anna, maybe b/c I have to stearnly say your "in trouble" name like maybe a million times a day?!! And Nathan didn't even know why he used "Kathleen" as my middle name. He just knows that it's part of the "in trouble" name I yell daily! I think it just sounded "right" to him. julia.

Friday, October 3, 2008

CIS Approval Issued!!

We've been waiting three months for this! Our approval document from the U.S. Custom and Immigration Department is on the way! I just set up a Fed Ex account so that the nice CIS lady can overnight our documents to us. So, we'll have the long awaited approval in our hands tomorrow! I'll have to take it along with all of our other documents downtown to the Secretary of State office Monday morning to get state certified. And then all of it will be sent to our adoption agency. They will get it translated into Chinese and then it will be sent to China. YEAH!! We're about done with paperwork!! It's been seven long months of getting things ready to be sent to China. We should be logged into the Chinese adoption system within a few weeks!! Then a new countdown begins. We're now near to one of the last steps! We're still several months away from actually being in China. It looks like we may be there sometime in February, maybe March. julia.