Thursday, February 13, 2014

Getting Down to the Wire

As I explained previously, Emily's immigration approval was forwarded to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire last week. The NVC produced and cabled our adoption letter to the US Embassy in China yesterday (almost one week later). This triggers our next wait, which should be between 2-3 weeks. Home stretch, y'all.

We expect our Lifeline China team will be able to pick up our Article 5 letter (Emily's approved visa) around March 4th. Once our Article 5 letter is available, it will be couriered to the CCCWA (China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption), where they will issue us Travel Approval (TA) about 2 weeks later. At that point, it's go time!

Considering where we are in the process and looking at the time frames, we are expecting to travel the last week of March. I can't believe I'm able to say that now!

(Disclaimer: If you are already thoroughly bored or confused by our process, do not read this paragraph.) We can not book our flights until we have a consulate appointment confirmed. This is the appointment at the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China to finalize the adoption. Our consulate appointment can not be made until we have TA (travel approval). "Gotcha day" is the day we pick up our sweet girl from her originating orphanage. Gotcha days are always on Monday and they are always scheduled the week before your consulate appointment. So, we will receive TA, then schedule our consulate appointment, then book flights. Based on current circumstances, here's my prediction. We will fly in to Beijing the week of March 24th to experience the culture and sight see for a couple days. We will then fly to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia (the capital of the province where she was abandoned) for our gotcha day, which would be March 31st. Then we fly to Guangzhou the following week to complete the adoption. Then it's back to the US of A for us! Again, this is only my prediction based on normal process times.

I'll have more updates to come as it gets closer. Please pump up those prayers. This is a very exciting but anxious time for our family. There is an unbelievable amount of preparation that needs to happen before we travel. This preparation has already begun and will not be slowing down any. Please accept my apology now for my neglecting or ignoring you over the next several weeks. Wait, now that I think about it, I really won't come out of that funk until... hmmmmm.... way after our return. Oh goodness. Pour on the grace, please. We're gonna need it. ;-)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Showered with Love

My precious friends showered me with love today. I am truly overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness, energy, time, and creativity that went in to organizing this very special day. I am one blessed lady. Thank you, sweet Holly, for opening your home in order that you and my other lovelies could shower this mama with goodness. Now we are officially ready for Mei Mei's arrival! There were so many great pictures taken of this special day. Here are a few...

Big sister and "Nana"

My friend Carla made this amazing cake!

A bracelet with the names of my 5 special people. Love.

Some of my girls who came today

Anna Grace loves her Mei Mei already!
Love me some Tujagues!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

U.S. Citizenship

We have been notified that Emily has officially been approved for citizenship in the U.S. This approval confirms Emily's status of American citizen the second she hits American soil.

I try to imagine the moment our airplane touches down on U.S. soil, after leaving China with our daughter. I'm thinking there will be plenty of tears and high fives. I've already purchased her a new red, white, and blue dress for that day... Oh what a joyous day that will be!

Now that we have I800 approval, our file has been sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) in New Hampshire. In approximately one week, the NVC will create and cable a letter to the US Embassy in Guangzhou, China (while they are doing this, we will be busy filling out more paperwork, DS260 form, which is necessary in the process of obtaining Emily's visa). Here, our Article 5 (Emily's approved visa to leave China) will be produced and sent to the CCCWA. Once they receive this, they will issue travel approval and we will then travel about 2 weeks after that. It's all a bit confusing but basically we are now going through a process to have Emily's visa issued. It takes several weeks and we are still expecting to travel in late March or early April.

Take away from today's news... Progress continues to be made! We are getting closer and closer to travel. This reality is hard for me to grasp. I get overwhelmed when I think about the past year, how this all began, the many steps we've taken along the way, and where we are today. Some days have been hard. Some have been wonderful. Every one of them have had God's hand at the center. We are privileged, beyond explanation, to have received this calling.

One more step up our mountain of Hope... the mountain that we eagerly looked up at in Birmingham almost one year ago. The mountain looked so very tall and overwhelming but we now have a beautiful view from the top and are almost all the way there... one step closer to bringing home our little US citizen! God is good.