Friday, August 29, 2014

Gimme an L! Gimme an O!!!! GIMME AN A!!!

That's right! We got our Letter of Acceptance. At 5:56 local time on Monday August 25, my phone rang while I was putting supper on the table: Sloppy Joes, corn, along with strawberries and bananas for those who are interested in our fare for the evening. ;) When I looked at the screen and saw Holt, OR, I was at a loss. Why would they be calling this late? I mean, I know they're two hours behind us, but still. DHL had surely made the delivery long ago, so if we had gotten our LOA, they would have called then. Besides, I know another family who had their LOA uploaded into the system the same day we did, and her agency had confirmed that she had not gotten the hard copy that day. So the question remained -- for the 2.3 seconds it took to slide the bar to answer -- why was my agency calling? What could I have possibly done? Amy quickly allayed my fears and put my curiosity to rest. Once she told me she had that beautiful piece of paper in her hands, I exploded. I screamed, I laughed, I required repeated reassurances that she was, in fact, not joking. I may have even cried a little.

Amy informed me that she would scan and email our LOA so we could get a on day jump on the I800 process - the next step - assuming I had that form and all corresponding, supporting documents completed, organized, and ready to go. Well, there's a chance that had been been filled out, oh, about two months ago. I reviewed the forms about 20 times, finally decided I had to just "Let It Goooo," and sent Troy with that precious package to FedEx so it would be waiting for the USCIS at 8:00am -- in 12 hours. $85 later, it was mailed and we're officially awaiting I800 approval now.

Although the LOA wait (the biggest unknown, and in my estimation, the most frustrating obstacle) is over, we still don't know when we'll be traveling. We are praying for November. If we are on the fast track through the next steps, there is a possibility that we could make it. We pray that's the case because if we don't, December is a much less attractive time to go for several reasons: Christmas away from the boys, child care for the boys, another month away from Carter...!!!! So we appreciate any and all prayers that the next part of the process goes smoothly and quickly. THANK YOU!

Carter, sweetheart, we're getting closer. <3

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How Can It Be Two Years?

It is hard to believe, but two years ago today, we were standing in the hallway of the "Jilin Disaster Reduction Center" being (somewhat unceremoniously) handed a most beautiful and precious gift: our son Ethan! It is hard to fathom. It simultaneously feels like yesterday and forever ago. We have come so far in two years. Words can't accurately express how grateful we are for this sweet, kind-hearted, charming, loving, funny, silly, bright son and brother. We love you Cheechaman! TOOOO much!

(Ok -- the video is not working particularly well. I will have to work on that. In the meantime, you get the idea! hahaha!)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

It's No LOA,

but beggars can't be choosers. We got an update today. I'm so excited! There were no pictures, so I had to snapshot them from a Movie Maker AFTER I figured out how to rotate the video. There's an hour and half of my life I'll never get back! However, if it's possible, it appears he is even cuter than before.

See?! And, it seems he's a tall boy! He's not yet three years old and is 97cm or 3' 2" tall and is 12.6kg which is almost 28lbs! On the American scale, he's in the 50-75% percentile for height but only 10-25% for weight. So, tall and skinny! We learned he has been healthy and has no allergies. Again, the update indicated he is well-suited for gymnastics. Sigh. That can't be good. We also learned he has a foster brother who is 25 months old. Then we got the some of the sweetest insights. We were told that Carter gets along well with his foster brother and protects him when he is bullied. Awwwww. When asked if he knows of us, we were told that he has seen our pictures, knows we are coming, and is happy when he looks at our pictures. <3 We were also told that when he is upset, "Please holding him in your arms and touching his back softly..." Oh. Sweet boy. No worries!

Finally, we watched the video...just shy of 100 times. What we ascertained is that he definitely has hearing loss. Of course we don't know to what extent, but it seems pretty obvious that, in contrast to the audiogram we received a few months ago, he does have some level of hearing loss. We were told that he always speaks but others cannot understand him. We cannot wait to introduce him to language! It will be so exciting to watch him grow and blossom. What a privilege! Hopefully we'll be talking to him soon!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Radio Silence

Since it has been a while since the last update, I thought I should report -- that we have nothing to report. Sigh. This is not unexpected; however, it is still depressing. We are only on day 42 of the dreaded LOA wait. To put that into perspective, we endured an appalling near-110 day wait with Ethan. So, yes, I know it's a little early in the process to start agonizing, but to be honest, that ship sailed on, oh, about day 10. We have been looking at Carter's sweet little face for nearly seven months now. We have been provisionally approved to adopt him for nearly six months. As I have said before and will likely say again, the wait is bad enough, but the not knowing is excruciating. If there was a definitive wait time, I could make my peace with that. Well, maybe. At any rate, I guess we'll never know. The LOA wait is a crap-shoot. (Charming turn of phrase, huh?) We could be within days of hearing those beautiful letters applied to our process. I mean, it used to be 4-6 weeks after a dossier was out of translation that people would receive their letter, and we are 4 1/2 weeks out of translation, so.... However, the average time right now is in the mid-70-day range. Blah. Then, to make it even more stressful, that is an average. The average for Ethan was certainly NOT 100+ days!

On the bright side, though, we did get to ask for an update, and that will be sent out at the end of this week. Hopefully before the end of the month, we'll have new pictures and information. All this said, we know that God's timing is perfect, and we will travel when the time is right for us to travel. Last adoption, had we not had that interminable wait, we would not have traveled with a certain other couple who have become a part of our family now. (Not exactly in-laws, so we've adopted the term out-laws!) Anyway, the operative word is patience. Easier said than done when you have THIS waiting for you on the other side of the world: