Monday, December 28, 2009

Baby Hongyan

Yep - that's our girl!  I would know those eyes...and ears...and nose...and mouth...and chubby cheeks anywhere!  From this little Peanut...


To this beautiful little girl...

Sofie Hongyan Nov 09

Sunday, December 27, 2009

We've Been Cabled!

Well, not us literally...but our approvals have been cabled to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China!  Step two down, three more to go!  Next is for the Consulate to issue an Article 5.  These have been coming quick for some folks -- like in 2 days -- so here's to hoping!

We sent another package to Sofie Yan.  The lady we've been using (Angela @ Lady Bugs N Love) for this service has been closed (acting as a guide for a family adoptiong two kiddos) so we used Ann @ Red Thread this time.  I was hoping to get a little something to Sofie and her foster family for Christmas.  It seems the orphanage was really confused when Ann called them as they have been dealing with Angela.  So, she did not ask them for new photos and told me not to request any more updates as "the director may be more tired of this".  The good news is they did answer the huge list of questions I sent and were sending it back to Angela.  She will be back in business on Jan 4th, so we should hear from her soon.

Package #3

I can't believe it is almost 2010!  Where did the time go...?  What an amazing start to the year we will have...can't wait!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

To our family - you know we would have loved nothing more than to spend this holiday with you, or at very least, sent you some fun, festive gifts.  We are trying to pay for as much of our adoption as possible without using credit cards and/or loans.  Every single penny is going towards this right now so we hope you understand.  Just know we are there with you in spirit, as you are here with us.   We love and miss you all very much!

To all of our friends and family - thank you so much for all the love and support you have given us this past year!  We hope these next few days find you warm and happy and you are able to celebrate with those you love the most!

We found out today that Sofie Yan has received all of our packages and has seen our photos.  They have told her we will come to meet her soon.  We also found out that she is learning to speak the local dialect...good thing we didn't learn Mandarin yet!  So, we will have to wait until we are in province and get some help from the guide.

Happy Christmas Eve and a Merry Christmas to you!  Enjoy...

All-time favorite Christmas movie

Monday, December 21, 2009

I800 Provisional Approval!

December 18th!  Hooray!

Another step down and four more to go!

Next: Our approval is sent to National Visa Center (NVC), who will upload our file and Cable our approval to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou.  This usually takes 7-10 days.

Then: The U.S. Consulate will process our approvals, visa application for Sofie, sign their copy of our LSC and issue what is called the Article 5 letter.  This informs the CCAA all of our paperwork and approvals are in order.   A rep from our agency will pick this letter up and deliver it to the CCAA.  This is taking anywhere from 1-4 weeks right now.

After That: The CCAA issues our Travel Approval - this means we are invited to travel to China to adopt Sofie!  This can take 2-4 weeks.

Finally: Our agency will schedule our adoption appointments in Inner Mongolia and our Consulate Appointment (CA) in Guangzhou.  This is when we will present our adoption paperwork to finalize the I800 approval and Sofie's visa, and appear for a "oath taking" ceremony.  All of our travel dates will revolve around this CA.  It usually takes the agency a few days to get this CA scheduled and then were are allowed to book our flights.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stella The Cat - Part II

Stella's new favorite napping where I sleep.  Oh, the life of a cat!

Luxuriatinga sleeping cat is a good cat

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Kitty

Another holiday tradition...Stella getting cozy under the Christmas tree.

Pretty babyJust what I wanted!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Latest...More Waiting

Even though our LSC was the "formal" approval and when China officially recognized us as Sofie's parents, there are actually five more steps...or milestones so to speak...for us to reach before we can travel to get our girl.  It's 30 days later and we haven't even made it past the first one. 

As a Hague family, we need immigration approval to finalize our adoption in China and bring Sofie to the U.S. to become a citizen upon arrival.  This is what I refer to as our I800 application.  Before we could file this application, we needed to amend our preliminary approval due to her age.  Before we could do this amendment, we needed a homestudy update.  I posted about our delays in getting that done here.

Our application to change our 800A (preliminary) approval and I800 application were received by USCIS on 11/27.  I e-mailed our caseworker on 12/11 to see if the paperwork was logged in or had reached her yet.  I heard back from her this Monday, the 14th, that she had our file and was getting started on it.  About 45 mins later, she sent me an Request For Evidence (RFE).  There was something missing from our file and she needed our agency to respond and provide it to her.

By Wednesday, the caseworker had not spoken to or received anything from our agency, so she asked me to call her.  We chatted a bit and she made sure I understood exactly what she was looking for and how simple it really was.  She was really, really nice!  I shot off an e-mail to everyone I could think of at our agency asking to please get it resolved that day.  Finally heard back at about 3:15 that the letter was being sent.  Yay!

We were told at the travel meeting we attended over the weekend and in the recent e-mails from the travel coordinator to expect to travel in February!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Traditions and The Family Tree

My friend Lisa & I have created our own little holiday tradition of doing our holiday shopping at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar.  We love to spend our Christmas dollars locally and this festive event features local artists, vendors and live music.  You can even imbibe on an adult beverage while you shop!  We aren't doing much shopping this year due to our upcoming trip, but check out the adorable duds I found for Sofie!  This lovely lady takes vintage clothes, breaks them down and makes adorable, affordable children's clothing.

Cute dress!

fancy skirt


On another, more exciting note, I finished the family tree wall!  Well, almost.  And let me tell you, it wasn't easy!  Our walls are textured so it took double the effort to get those babies to stick.  And yes, each circle is a separate piece.  Now all I need to do is print out family photos and hang them in the tree!

family tree wall in progress

We heard from the travel coordinator from our agency today and they are saying February for our trip to meet Sofie and bring her home.  We were hoping for January, but just hit a snag with our immigration approval which will no doubt lead to another delay...sigh.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Spirit

My Mom is here for an early holiday visit.  She lives in Southern California and likes to come out to Austin a few times a year because we usually have decent weather.  I'm not sure if she has visited in December before, but she must have brought some crazy weather with her.  We had snow the day before she came from Houston (short visit with her brother) and it has been in the 40's and rainy/drizzly since then!

We've been getting in the holiday spirit by decorating and of course shopping.  We ran out yesterday and bought an adorable little Frasier fur and trimmed it last night while sipping some bubbly and rockin' some Christmas tunes.  It was fun to decorate the tree with Mom as I have many ornaments from her that we had as kids.  Lots of good holiday memories!  And many more to come!  What are you doing to get in the spirit this year?  :)

Bundled up for some shopping


Here's to Christmas with Sofie next year!Our cute tree

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Our Sponsor Child - December Update

Melody had surgery and has since returned to New Day to recover.  In the New Day newsletter this month they said her surgery was a tremendous success and she is recovering well.  Here is her latest photo...she is such a gorgeous little baby...and what her nanny had to say this month:


Melody is such a lovely girl!  Her hair is growing in length, shiny and healthy looking too.  We are now able to tie it up with some pretty ribbons on top of her head and she looks so cute!

Melody is a happy baby and rarely cries except for the typical reasons such as needing her diaper changed or being hungry.  She is so adorable when she reaches up to touch your face with her little hands then calls you momma.  Currently Melody isn't very fond of strangers and will usually cry if they try to hold her.  Of course, she is so cute it is hard for them to resist the temptation but they soon give her back when she cries!