Monday, May 31, 2010

Catching Up

I took some photos of the Ladybug this weekend, and after downloading them to my computer, I noticed that there were some other photos of her/us that I haven't posted. So, I am catching up! Below are some photos of us with descriptions over the past couple months.

Some of you may remember that the middle of April brought about our Butterfly's 1st birthday. It was difficult not being with her to celebrate her first year of life, but we did share in the the joy of her birthday as a family. We got a cake, sang "Happy Birthday," and thought of our dear little daughter/sister. It was a wonderful celebration that we cannot wait to share with her when we bring her home.

That same day brought about another reason to celebrate to the Ladybug. It was the day that she could finally chew gum! I know, it seems a but trite, but she has been waiting four long years to enjoy the silliness of gum-chewing. She was very patient, and counted down the months, then days for almost a year. Her patience paid off, and she is now on her way to being a gum-chewing teenager in no time at all.

Easter time came and went, but not without a visit to the Easter Bunny. Previous years she was terrified of the over-sized rabbit and ended up crying and screaming her way away from the bunny. This year, she seemed to think that he (or she???) was her best friend, cuddling up nice and close to her new furry friend.

The Ladybug LOVES to have her hair done, and this new creation was all her idea. She came to me one morning and asked to do a braid from one side to the other side of her head. This was the result, and we have ended up doing recreating it several times since.

On Mother's Day, we spent the day visiting the Mammoth Site, which is the world’s largest mammoth research facility where you can tour an active paleontological dig site and view Ice Age fossils exhibited as they are found. We thoroughly enjoyed our day together, playing with fossils.

Daddy and the Bug listening to the tour guide:

The Bug listening to the guide on the phone... channeling her inner teenager:

Looking at the mammoth fossils below (I love this pic!):

Holding a mammoth femur:

Playing with the bones... future paleontologist maybe???:

Mommy and the Ladybug on Mother's Day:

A couple weeks ago we put together the Butterfly's bed and dresser/changing table. It was actually a fun couple of days where we as a family got to build and play together. The photo below is of the Ladybug helping us with the build. I will be sharing the before and after photos later.

Memorial Day weekend we decided to break out the grill and BBQ some great meals three nights in a row. Needless to say, we enjoyed some GREAT food! The first night we grilled brats, and grilled peppers and onions. Yummmmmmm. The second night was the same grilled veggies, marinated chicken as well as shish kabobs. This was the Bug's first time eating anything on a stick other than a corn dog. She loved it (of course, the strawberry smoothie I made for her really sealed the deal)!

Here is daddy grilling some hamburgers and corn today. The corn was awesome!!!

While waiting for her meal, the Bug pondered life as a bird (she is such a little goober!):

My little chip girl:

Yummmmm, grilled corn on the cob and hamburgers:

So there, our lives over the past few months. We really have spent some wonderful time together as a family of three. Hard to believe that very soon we will be a family of four!!! Keeping my fingers crossed for some good news really soon. Gott love my little lovebug ♥


Thursday, May 27, 2010


I have been avoiding blogging recently because I am frustrated. I have held off sharing this frustration with my blogging buddies, but I just can't anymore. To be honest, I am p@ss$d!

We have been waiting in the TA (Travel Approval) line now for just over one month. We were initially told to expect to receive our Travel Approval within about 2 - 4 weeks. Well, those dates have come and gone and we are still seeing no change in sight. What makes it worse is that people who have been waiting less time for their TAs have actually received them already. So, what is the deal? I have no friggin clue. We are not told one darned thing from the agency. Nobody seems to know why our TAs are taking so long.

What I loved about the Chinese NSN (non-special needs) process (we went that route in 2006) was that your dossier went over to China and received its LID (log-in-date). Nobody got pushed ahead of you in line. Nobody got any special treatment, each dossier was treated the same. You waited in line until it was your time. The system seemed fair.

Now we are part of the SN (special needs) system and it just seems like such a hodge-podge of things. There is no rhyme or reason that entire agencies receive TAs (travel approvals) long before other agencies. I do realize that there are special circumstances where people are rushed through because of the child's medical emergency and again other times where curcumstances make it so that some people must wait longer for their TA (paperwork expiring is one example). But overall, it just seems like once you receive your Article 5, your paperwork should then be put into a pile and given TA (travel approval) in that order. Allowing entire agencies to jump ahead of other people and agencies if extremely frustrating and... well... just not fair (yes, I am saying this because I am in the middle of this mess right now). It just seems that an organization (country) where they have been so good about making and keeping one aspect of the program (NSN) so fair for people, that they have not continued that same fairness for this program (SN).

Throughout this process we have been diligent. As soon as we received a piece of paper or packet to sign, we did and sent it off immediately to start the next step. We made sure that there was nothing we did that delayed our process at all. We made sure to be very diligent and aggressive in moving our paperwork right along. The delays that we are seeing nothing have nothing to do with anything we did.

Over at an adoption website I visit frequently, they have a list called the Steps to TA Chart. Adoptive parents ask to be placed on this list after they receive their LOA (Letter of approval). The list is very long with many entries from all over the United States. I have been on this list since March 1, the day we received our LOA. We are now at the very top of this list, having waited longer than anyone else on it to receive our TA.

What makes this wait even worse is that we had planned all along to have my father-in-law accompany us to China. But, now that is highly unlikely. I am not going to go into the specifics, but what determines when you travel is the CA (Consulate Appointment). As of today, all of the CAs are booked through June 21 are gone, and the weeks after through the first week of July are also filling very quickly. Unfortunately, my fahter-in-law needs to be back in the states by the beginning of July, so unless we get our TA NOW, he will likely not be able to travel with us. Which just stinks... he even has his visa, he is ready to go!

Add to that the fact that I am a teacher and the summer is the only time of year that I get off from work, so the one-on-one time with my baby is just slipping through my fingers. I am frustrated, p@ss$d off, angry, and absolutely sad that my baby is sitting over in China without a forever family, and we have no answers as to why we cannot go get her yet. I go to bed every night in tears. Right now I hate this process and will not recommend it to anyone. I know that some of these feelings will subside as time passes, but I am in the thick of it right now, this is just the way I feel.

Baby Butterfly, we will get there, and it is not our fault that it is taking so long. I am so sorry.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Playing the Waiting Game

Yes, we are still waiting to our Travel Approval. We have now been waiting for almost three weeks and just itching for it to arrive. There is nothing that we can do to make this part of the process go any faster, and thus it seems to be dragging on ever-so-slowly. Sigh...

To keep ourselves busy during this silly wait, the Ladybug and I spent a nice afternoon last Friday on a "Girl's Day Out." With some of my favorite students in tow (as well as a couple of the Ladybug's friends), we shopped around downtown, went out to lunch, enjoyed some ice cream, and finally made our way over to the beauty salon for manicures and pedicures.

The Ladybug LOVED every minute of the day spent with some great girls. Her favorite moment, of course, was getting her professional manicure from the very nice manicurist. The lady painted her nails a perfect pink, and even decorated with little flowers on each nail. Needless to say, the Ladybug was on cloud nine when she walked out of the salon. We all ended the day with a fun "girly" movie, 13 Going on 30.

• I love being a mommy. It is the greatest “job” I have ever had.
• I love moments like these where we giggle our way through the day.
• I love that my little girl is a "girly-girl."
• I love that the Ladybug loves spending fun, quality time with her mommy.
• I love that my daughter is adventurous.
• I love seeing my daughter’s face light-up by the simplest of events.
• I love listening to the Ladybug sing to every tune she hears.
• I love watching my daughter dance to every Mamma Mia song.
• I love that my daughter is an adventurous food-eater.
• I love listening to my daughter tell stories.
• I love that hugs and kisses are her favorite way she to greet her mommy and daddy.
• I love that my Lovebug loves to cuddle.
• I love that the Ladybug cannot wait to be a big sister.
• I love being a mommy.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

This Stop... Article 5!!!

It finally came, our Article 5! We are now down to waiting for this last step in the process (the last "official" step, that is, before we travel). We are now... finally... waiting for Travel Approval.

The official date our Article 5 was obtained and transferred to the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) was actually Thursday, April 29. It has taken me a week to finally update the website... sorry! With one week behind us though, we are hoping that we are only 2-3 weeks away from approval (of course I am hoping for the sooner date in the time-frame!). And, after approval, we are hoping and praying that we will be able to travel by the middle of June. However, Consulate appointments are filling up quickly, so that possibility seems to be slipping through our fingers very slowly.

When we travel to bring the Butterfly home, we plan to have some very special people accompany us, similar to our last trip when we brought home the Ladybug. In 2006, my husband and I traveled and we were accompanied by my parents, and my husband's mother. It was a wonderful trip for all of us, and having them there meant so much to us, and them. It made the trip so much more special to share our special moment with our family, and to this day we all have such amazing memories of our time in China when the Ladybug became a member of our family.

This time we hope to travel again with some special family members. Of course my husband and I will travel, and we cannot wait take the Ladybug back to her home country to meet her baby sister. Also hoping to make the trip are my mother, and my husband's mother and father. The only issue that we are dealing with is that my husband's parents have previous plans for the month of July, so we need to be home by the first of that month. So, at this point we are hoping and praying for everything to work out for us.

Typically, after travel approval arrives, parents frantically make travel arrangements and tend to leave within one to two weeks. However, because of the recent trade fairs in China that lasted nearly one month, there is now a one-month backlog of parents just starting their journeys. These families received their travel approval one month ago, but because of the trade fairs, most waited until after that busy and expensive time (the cost of the hotels nearly triples during this time). The first of this month is when many adoptive parents finally started traveling again to China. So, the people who have recently received their travel approval are now having to wait longer to travel than usual because of these other families who have waited nearly one month to travel (Seriously, if you are confused with my explanation, I would totally understand!).

We are hoping that this backlog of families waiting to travel doesn't push back our travel plans into the month of July, but only time will tell. In the mean time, we are slowly preparing for our baby Butterfly, and eagerly awaiting her arrival. As you can imagine, we are crossing our fingers that everything works out for us, but we would still greatly appreciate your good thoughts and prayers for a speedy travel approval and travel arrangements for mid-June travel.