Friday, June 29, 2012

My Prayer Today

Today my emotions are conflicting. We are nearing Aiden's 4th birthday. Tomorrow family and friends will come together to celebrate the precious gift that he is. He is such a source of joy, wonder, and love. I am profoundly grateful that he is my son. But this time of year always reminds me that somewhere in China, another woman's heart is probably breaking. Somewhere another mother wonders how her son is. She questions if she did the right thing. Did he live? Where is he? How does he spend his day? Who are his friends and family? Today as I rocked Aiden for his nap in anticipation of a long night of baseball and fun with his cousins, uncle, grandpa, and dad, I felt a physical ache for that other mom. The mom who sacrificed so much. For five months, she nurtured him, loved him, rejoiced in him, laughed with him and cried for him. Surely her heartbreak is felt more acutely at momentous times during the year: New Year -- a time for family, the day she had to leave him on the steps of a church, and his birthday. I wish somehow I could tell her that he is ok: that he is better than ok. He is wonderful. I want her to know that he is one of the happiest, well-adjusted little boys I have ever been blessed to know, and I believe that that love and bonding she gave him when he was an infant is a very important part of that. I would tell her that although he has faced and will face struggles, he will do it with a wonderful support system. She should know that he has an incredible number of people who not only love but cherish him. She deserves to know that he is surrounded by people who care and will do anything to make sure he will thrive. Most of all, though, I want her to know that although I may be the furthest thing from a perfect mom, I will always do my best and I will always love her son -- OUR son. I pray God will whisper that in her ear and somehow she can find some peace.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


The other day I got a text message from a fellow adoptive parent who is on almost the exact timeline we are. It just so happens they are adopting a little boy just a little bit (like weeks) older than Ethan from the same orphanage / city. Anyway, the text said that they had gotten an email from the NVC saying that their petition to adopt had been forwarded to the appropriate embassy / consulate. She told me that she'd gotten that email at 5:00 A.M. Well, this morning, my eyes popped open before the sun was up. I lay there for about two minutes, annoyed that I was awake. Then I rolled over to check the time. It was 5:01 and I had to laugh. My adoption-addled brain had apparently awoken me to check my email, and check I did. Nothing. I lay awake, checking my email every 10 minutes or so, until about 5:45 when I lost hope. I was positive that we would not be getting our email saying that we had been cabled, that our petition to adopt had been forwarded to the appropriate visa-issuing post. I gave up and went back to sleep. When I finally rolled out of bed at 8:30 (let me point out here that Aiden slept until 9:00 again! woot woot!), the first thing I did was check my phone for emails. Sure enough, at 5:57 we got the email. Hahaha! I guess there's something to the old adage, "A watched pot never boils."

Now for the $10 million question. When will we be traveling? We still really don't know. We have to get our Article 5, then we will finally be waiting on our TA, Travel Approval. A reasonable estimate seems to be two months or so to our CA, Consulate Appointment, but I'm waiting to hear from our agency so we can get a better grasp on possible departure dates. With our luck we will go right about the time school starts. Good grief! Realistically, we could leave around August 15. First day of in-service? August 16. God has a sense of humor...!!! :/ I will post more when we know more.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I800 Provisional Approval

This is going to be a short post, but....We got our I800 provisional approval today. PTL! As I was sitting out at my wonderful friend's house (thanks again Ann) trying to forget the distressing news from Aiden's Dr. appt yesterday,

I got the email that said,

"Hi Diane,

I just approved your I-800. You should receive your approval notice in 7-10 days. Have a great day!"

Ah yeah. That should help my day!! I screamed. Jenny Rae and Ann joined in the excitment, I emailed Emily, called Troy (sadly, in that order), and then I returned to my usual practical self. I tried to start figuring out possible travel dates and contemplating what would work for our family. On the return trip from Baltic to Soo Foo, I called Steve, our agency's travel guru, and really didn't learn all that much. It's still a pretty broad spectrum. I get the impression, though, that mid-August is a VERY real possibility. That's amazing as the sooner we can get Ethan the better, obviously, and we could travel with another family going to the same province getting a little one just two months older than Ethan. Conversely, that would mean missing out on much-needed in-service money and setting the tone for our classes. We are in emotional turmoil about our options. I will not, however, get my undies in a bunch until we have an idea about our earliest possible travel date. ;) No matter how we look at it, though, we are getting VERY close to going to get our sweet baby. Ethan Fletcher, we are getting ever so close....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

We Said YES!

At 12:14 PM, our FedEx guy FINALLY arrived.

He was baring a singularly beautiful item of paperwork. It was our LOA saying China had approved us to adopt Chang Bo Yong and asking us if we accepted the referral.


(Troy came in from building the boys' playset to sign)

By 1:30, all of the nearly one million pages (slight exaggeration for effect) of our paperwork was on its way to the USCIS for I800 approval, and our LOA was checked and signed and headed back to Holt.

These poor FedEx / delivery guys ;)

It was a GREAT day which continued with the building of (and playing on) the playset. (Thanks Uncle John and Cousin Jen for all the help!!)


We finished the evening with a toast to the day's events using the same glasses we used at our wedding...and at our toast to the start of our adoption journey for Aiden.

What a momentous day. We're one huge step closer, Ethan!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


That's right! We got our LOA today. We were out back attempting (emphasis on the word attempting) to build Aiden and Ethan's :) new play set when my phone rang at 3:27. I glanced down at it, and the caller ID read Holt, OR. It is amazing how many thoughts can race through your head in a split second. With eyes wide, I whispered to Troy, "It's Holt, OREGON!" Hope warred with dread. So, what has gone so dreadfully wrong that they're calling instead of emailing? Was it good news? How could it be? We just got out of translation a week ago today, and I was told it should take about 4 weeks for our paperwork to work its way through "in-process." Then again, crazier things have happened in the adoption world. Did we have our LOA? All of these thoughts and emotions ripped through me at lightning speed, in the 10 steps it took me to walk into the basement.

"May I speak to Diane or Troy Sturgeon, please?"
"This is Diane."
"Diane, this is Kristen with Holt, and I have some VERY good news to share with you...."

Everything after that is a blur. I quite literally, to my dismay and chagrin, dropped to my knees and sobbed. I did at one point tell Kristen to hold on while I composed myself, but that never really happened. At least I stopped crying and was able to put together a coherent sentence or something that closely resembled one. I think. Kristen informed me that I will have my LOA in my hands TOMORROW via FedEx. (That poor FedEx guy doesn't know what he has in store for him. I will be stalking the front door all morning tomorrow.)

So, the next step? More paperwork, of course. BLECH. Nine pages for the I800 (not including the supplement 1), copies of all material we've received about Chang Bo Yong / Ethan since day 1, the I864W, a copy of our I797C/I800A Approval Notice, and...wait...our training certificate?! Guess what. We can't find our copy and the regional office where they (prayerfully) have a copy is closed. UGH! I have an email in to them and am praying that they can email / send us a pdf copy. It is going to be a LONG wait overnight. If they can't...well, that doesn't bear thinking about! In essence, then, I'm done with pretty much everything, but we're waiting for our LOA which we'll get tomorrow and our Article 16 Letter which will be enclosed with the LOA. (And, of course, the training certificate. PLEASE, God, please let the Holt Midwest Branch have it!!!)

That may all sound like a lot of mumbo jumbo, but seldomly have I seen more beautiful words. Ethan, my sweet baby boy, we're one step closer!!!!!