Monday, March 31, 2014

Authentication and Home Study News

We got 11 of the necessary 13 documents authenticated and back from the Chinese Embassy today! Also, we found out that our notarized home study should be returned to us sometime in the middle of this week. Once we have that, we can send in our I800a application. Then we will wait for our I797. Those two (the home study and I797) will be our last two pieces of documentation we will need to send to be authenticated -- probably MANY weeks from now -- before we can forward everything to China so we can begin the long wait for our LOA, or acceptance from China for us to adopt our (yet nameless) son. One step at a time. One step at a time!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Celebrating Small Victories

This process is nothing short of (emotionally and mentally) arduous. Therefore, I have learned we need to celebrate the mini-milestones, and yesterday was one of those moments. We received the following email:

Congratulations! Today we approved your home study, pending revisions. We have notified your social worker of the pending approval, and they are now working on making the requested revisions before sending you 3 originals of the study. Please allow at least 1 week for processing.

(Insert a myriad of details and instructions for a slew of upcoming paperwork.)

Warm regards,
"X" Early Process and Dossier Assistant

It may not seem like much, but it is another step closer to bringing home our (yet nameless) son.

It is one more check mark on a seemingly endless list.

It is one day closer to having our three boys under the same roof!

That is why we celebrate!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Here We Go Again! Introducing.....

OUR SON!!! Our 2 1/2 year old, bright, naughty, "gymnastic talent" {according to those who know him best} son!

Yes, it's true. We are completing our family -- with a boy!

Ok, so, I've always had dreams of having three children. When the dream started taking shape, though, I have to admit, I had in mind having three girls in a more "traditional" manner. (How I was going to achieve this genetic feat, I'm not sure, but three bio girls it was going to be!) When reality began to rear its ugly beautiful head that we were not going to grow our family the old-fashioned way, we realized it was a family we wanted; the means to that family was not the point.

Of course, it's ironic in hindsight. With international adoption, we could have chosen the gender of our children. We could have had our family be comprised of three little girls. So, why didn't we? To be honest, I don't know that I can unequivocally say why. When we began the process, we had fully planned to check the box for "girl" only. But we paused. We discussed. We prayed. We vacillated . We finally decided to let God (fate if you're of that bent) make that decision. "If I was pregnant," we argued, "we wouldn't have a say in it. It would be what it would be." And so it would be. We chose "either gender." Enter Aiden. Our son. How could we imagine life without that funny, loving, bright, sweet boy? What a much darker, sadder, more boring place our world would be without him. God does NOT make mistakes; He showed us yet again!

Well, we knew our family was not complete. So, we got to {insert sarcasm} fill out the paperwork once again. Again, we were faced with so many decisions regarding ages, 'special needs,' and, yes, gender. It would have made perfect sense, to some, for us to check "girl." How sweet -- a boy and a girl! However, we looked at Aiden and felt so immeasurably blessed and grateful that we HADN'T ticked the box next to girl that we decided once again to allow the decision to be taken out of our hands: ETHAN! The gentlest, kindest, most thoughtful little ball of energy we've ever had the good fortune to know. Our second son. It takes my breath away to imagine my life without him.

Now, for the final chapter in the Sturgeon Family Story. We are accidentally expecting again. Here's how this situation unfolded.

It was the middle of January during my prep time, and I realized it had been months since I had been on our agency's (Holt) website. Troy and I had mentioned, somewhat in passing, that we would sometime in the near future like to start the process again in order to complete our family. Obviously with a girl. The matter of when to start the process was still up for debate, but eventually was as far as we'd gotten. So, when I decided to check out the waiting child list, it was with no pre-conceived notion that I would find *my* child waiting there for me. However, as I scrolled down the pictures, I found the cutest, sweetest little face capped with the most a-dork-able hair cut smiling up at me. I couldn't help it. I had to read his profile. Lo and behold, his 'special need' wasn't all that 'special.' At least to us. He was hard of hearing / Deaf. Huh. Turns out we know a thing or two about having a deaf son! I couldn't help myself. I sent the picture to Troy. In a nutshell, he asked what his special need was. I told him. His response? "That's IT?" To which I responded, rather eloquently I feel, "Yup." Then he sent his fateful reply. "Get on it!" The rest, as they say, is history. We didn't take precautions (to guard our heart), and now we find ourselves "with child" again. And we could not be happier or more excited!

We don't have a lot of details to share. We were provisionally approved by China, PA, on 2/12/14 (YAAAY!!!) and had our final home study visit on Sunday, March 16. As soon as that is notarized and in our hands, we can send it off to the USCIS and begin the much-despised waiting game -- waiting for our I800A approval. All of our other paperwork is Virginia / DC already, ready to be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy. There's a chance I've been referred to as "gung-ho" by our adoption agency's regional office. Haha! In fact, I was informed by our social worker that one of the staff members in Omaha claims she's never seen such a fast turn around in paperwork for a home study! Hey. This isn't my first rodeo, and I want this little guy (who is still nameless, by the way, and is still being referred to as 'baby brother') home, sooner rather than later!!

In summary, we appreciate any and all prayers, and....HERE WE GO!!!!!!