Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!!

And WHAT a happy start to the Year of the Dragon for us! As I have alluded to in the past post(s), we are in a race against the clock. We NEED to get our dossier (paperwork) to China (be DTC), like, NOW. We really have to be logged in before we can send our letter of intent to be considered for Tank. We have been, impatiently, waiting for our last piece of paperwork to clear through government channels. We were logged in with the USCIS on Dec. 14, auspicious since that's my brother's birthday, and were fingerprinted the second day of the New Year, first work day back, 1/3. It has been taking about 60 days to get the I797C, said final piece of paperwork, so I was actually fearing that we wouldn't get ours until February 13 or later. Well. On the 2nd day of the Chinese New Year, I called to check in to see if we had been assigned an officer yet. The reponse I got was, "Not only have you been assigned an officer, you have already been approved. It wasn't approved until late yesterday, so it was just mailed out this morning." YAAAAAYYY! I am over the moon. I hadn't realized how much I had been holding back until I heard those words. I told this officer, I don't know if I want to laugh, scream or cry. There is a chance I may have done a little of all three. I am so excited. I finally looked at the pictures of OUR SON next to my computer screen and really, completely let him into my heart. I had been thinking of him as our boy in a theoretical kind of way until now. Now, he just found his way into my heart and soul as well as into my head. Of course, the paper still needs to be certified by the state, FedExed to DC to a courier, expedited through there, FedExed back to us, and finally, FedExed to Holt, OR. So many places / ways to be lost or misplaced. Please pray this last piece of our dossier meets with no problems and that we get it to Holt and China by 2/10 (through my calculations, if everything goes smoothly, that should be possible). Ahhhh! It finally seems real. We're going to China to get our sweet baby boy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What's In a Name?

As we sit and wait with nothing to occupy our hands adoption-wise, and too much to occupy our minds adoption-wise, one of the pasttimes I have taken up is coming up with names to add to our baby name list....only to have Troy summarily remove them. Sigh. The only thing we can agree upon is Tank's middle name. His middle name will be Fletcher in honor of Troy's grandfather. Aiden got Joseph as a middle name in honor of my dad and grandfather, so Fletcher seems fitting. We cannot seem to find any common ground for a first name, though, and that may prove to be a problem. My students have several creative, if ridiculous, choices, but they bring us no closer to an actual moniker for our little guy awaiting us in Changchun. (That is, unless we decide Hemmingway, Hemmi for short, is appropriate for our newest addition.) Troy favors somewhat more traditional names like Aaron or Zachary. I lean towards the somewhat more modern but certainly not the outrageous or unique. Some names I've thrown out are Brennan/Brendan, Braxton, Landon, Tate, and Liam -- my favorite being Liam. We're probably going to find a compromise with Brandon or Brady. Sigh, again!

Of course, we probably have way more time than I want to admit (or even contemplate) to come up with a name. Our paperwork should be on it's way back from D.C. as I type. We have to wait, though, for our I800 which could be 60+ days, putting us into March, which is HORRIFYING. If we don't get our approval soon enough, and thereby don't get our dossier to China soon enough, there is a chance, however slim, that Tank could be referred to another family. No matter how slim this chance is, it makes me heart sick to think about it. As it turns out, this little guy has already found his niche in my heart and mind. He is my son, and I need to go get him. I do have faith in our agency and one lady there in particular, but that chance still exists and it scares me. We need all the prayers anybody is willing to say for us that our government moves us through this process at light speed so we can get that last little piece of paper to the SD state department, then get it expedited through DC. In the meantime, to take my mind off the interminable wait, I'll continue to expand the name list while Troy continues to pare it down.

Friday, January 6, 2012


It looks like it's time to revitalize my blogging skills. "Why?" you may be asking yourself. Well, because it is official. We are "expecting" again! Aaahhh! This fall we decided we wanted Aiden to have a sibling, and of course, we want another child with whom to share our love! Feeling the time was right, we filled out our application and mailed it in to Holt. We were happy and excited but overall calm. It just felt right.

Of course, that early giddiness is short-lived because the overwhelming, almost suffucating paperwork commences almost immediately: personal backgrounds, state and federal fingerprinting, physicals, getting vital documents, requesting letters of reference -- twice, taking pictures, proof of employment, police clearance...ETC! Then getting it all notarized. *SIGH* I will say, though, that this time around, it seems less intimidating. With Aiden, I remember at times thinking it was insurmountable, impossible. I guess having done it once, realizing it IS possible, and knowing what a beautiful and wonderful gift awaits at the conclusion, makes it seem less daunting.

Fast forward four months. All of our documents were compiled and we sat awaiting our biometric fingerprinting appointment so we could get our I797C. After we receive that, we can send our papers to the SD Secretary of State, then the US State Department, then on to the Chinese Embassy. We will then be what's called DTC (Dossier to China) and typically start the wait to be matched to our child.

But, God had other plans. Before we even had our fingerprinting done, I got a call from our agency. See, on Dec. 22, 2011, I decided to inquire about a gorgeous little boy on the waiting list. His needs seemed minor, and he reminded me so much of Aiden, I just had to see if he was our boy. I figured his age, only six months younger than Aiden, might be a problem, but I had to check. Somebody with our agency called and informed us that age wasn't the problem. The issue, it turned out, was that he was destined for another family.

Then, she dropped the big, beautiful bomb. That little cutie was unavailable, but....THEY HAD A REFERRAL FOR US! I was in shock. I was shaking. I cried. Now, this wouldn't be such a big deal, but I was in my classroom and students were in the room with me. Obviously I couldn't share the news, so a group of juniors left for the Christmas break wondering if Mrs. Sturgeon had finally lost it. Since this was so out of the blue, I didn't know how to relate the news to Troy. I emailed. He was busy. He told me to email him whatever I needed. I told him that this kind of news probably shouldn't be shared on the computer. He NEEDED to call me. Finally, he called. He was as shell-shocked as I was. I made arrangements to meet him up at the middle school so we could open the file together and see this little guy who could possibly be our second child. What we saw was an adorable little boy with cheeks just begging to be kissed! His medical need seemed (and still does according to a couple of docs) to be pretty mild and imminently manageable. Our biggest shocker? He is only 14 months old. We hadn't anticipated getting a little one under two, but, if everything plays out according to normal timelines, we should be bringing home a less-than-two-year-old! :-O Yikes!

On 12/27, after doctors' reviews of the file, (thank you my dear cousin, Dr. Jessica - you're amazing!) we sent our LOI, Letter of Intent, to our agency stating we are hoping to be considered as parents for this little guy!! By the way, we happen to be lovingly dubbing him Tank until we can agree upon a name. Seriously, you should see those adorable, chubby cheeks. ;) Now the race is on. All the papers we had compiled and were holding on to have since been mailed to SD Sec. of State, returned, and forwarded to D.C. As soon as we get our fingerprints approved and our I797C, we will expedite and get our file to China ASAP!

It is so hard to know your son is awaiting you in a country half a world away. Every night we say our prayers that God wraps his loving arms around this little guy and keeps him healthy, happy and loved in his foster home until we can bring him to his forever home with his forever family. Already Aiden looks at Tank's picture and says, "baby brother," and it melts our hearts. The next 6 - 8 months will seem like an ETERNITY! :-( At least now we have a face to go with the prayers we have been sending up for our child before we even knew who he was!

As with our adoption of Aiden, we are humbled by and grateful for others' prayers. We are praying, and would appreciate your prayers, that our little guy's heart condition is mild, or better yet, resolves itself. We are asking God that the governments on both sides of this process move quickly and that we will be on our way to bring home our beautiful boy sooner rather than later. Also, our prayers are that he is being cared for, loved, and cherised. Of course, we pray this for all the orphans of the world and that they, too, can be placed in their forever families.

Although this new chapter of Aiden's Adventure actually started on August 19 with the completion of an application to Holt, International (the greatest adoption agency in the world, if I do say so!), we just got to the really exciting part of the rising action. Although conflict really creates an interesting story, let's pray ours are few and far between, and it's the character development that drives our plot. Ahhhh ha ha ha! Sorry. I promise that will be the last of the liteary analogies. It's early, and as usual, the protagonist in our lives didn't let me get much sleep last night. Ok. I'm done. :) I'll be back with news as it happens!