Friday, January 29, 2010

This and That

Sofie Hongyan's room is just about finished!  I've sort of been pacing myself since we have plenty of time.

We have a chair picked out for this corner between the bed and her Dad can read to her each night:


Just need one more photo up and the family tree wall is done:


I bought a light exactly like this, but that hangs from the ceiling...just need to find time to install it:


On another note, we got the official itinerary for our trip.  We will stay here in Beijing.  So far, there will be 15 other Great Wall families there with us!!!

Then, this lovely place in Hohhot.  We are quite happy about the indoor pool and red wine and cigar lounge!   As of right now, we are the only family from our agency traveling to Hohhot.

And finally, the historic White Swan in Guangzhou.   There will be lots of other families there, including some Mom's I have met throughout this process.  Sofie Hongyan will have lots of new friends to play with!

But the best part is we found out we will meet Sofie Hongyan at 3pm on the 28th!  We were originally told March 1st would be our Family Day (or what is referred to as Gotcha Day), so are excited to meet her a day early!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

So...we received confirmation of our Consulate Appointment (CA) on 3/9 and were able to book our flights this morning!  We also got our itinerary from the agency and this is what our trip will look like.  We decided to go a day early since our flight was getting to Beijing so late:

2/24 - fly from Austin to Dallas to Tokyo to Beijing

2/25 - arrive in Beijing 9:30pm

2/26 - free day to relax and rest

2/27 - tour Beijing with agency travel group - Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square

2/28 - fly to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia -- we will meet Hongyan at 3pm!!!

3/1 - Adoption Day!

3/2 - shopping

3/3 - visit Dazhao Temple

3/4 - visit Inner Mongolia museum (heard this is fantastic)

3/5 - fly to Guangzhou

3/6 - TB test for little miss

3/7 - sightseeing Chen Family Temple

3/8 - medical exam

3/9 - CA, guide will bring our docs to the Consulate

3/10 - Oath taking ceremony

3/11 - pick up Hongyan's passport with US visa and take the train to Hong Kong

3/12 - day in Hong Kong, meet up with cousin Stacey

3/13 - Home!  Fly Hong Kong to Tokyo to Dallas to Austin.  We'll land in Austin at 6:45pm

It's quite a bit of flying...don't know if I'll get Brandon back on a plane anytime soon after this trip!  Obviously there were "easier" ways to get there, but we were able to use our miles to upgrade to business class on American flying this route.  A must for Brandon and his long legs!

It's so nice to have the dates and flights's finally starting to feel "real"!

Friday, January 22, 2010

China Travel Dates

Just found out Civil Affairs in Inner Mongolia confirmed our Adoption Day for 3/1, which means we will leave on 2/25 and return on 3/12.  We will meet Sofie in 38 days!

We are waiting for the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou to confirm our appointment there for 3/9, which should happen Monday or Tuesday.  Then we can book our flights!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Woohoo! TA! TA! TA!

Our travel approval arrived yesterday!  Waiting for the call to discuss dates...going to request a departure of 2/18, family day of 2/22 and consulate appointment of 3/3.  Keep your fingers and toes crossed we can get those dates!


SO - apparently some of the provinces are still closed on 2/22 for CNY. 

IF, Inner Mongolia is open and we can schedule "Familiy Day" for 2/22, we will leave on 2/19 and skip Beijing.

If not, we'll definitely leave on 2/25, do Beijing first and Family Day will be on 3/1.

We will know for sure tomorrow!

Stay tuned...again!

Monday, January 18, 2010

TA Issued!

Got news from our agency that our TA has been issued!  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Article 5 and Some Answers

We found out this morning that our Article 5 letter was delivered to the CCAA on January 6th, which means we are one week in to our wait for Travel Approval (TA)!!!

Our travel coordinator said to expect our TA in a week or two and if all goes as planned, we will leave for China on February 25th!  Although this means we won't get our girl before the Chinese New Year holiday closures, we are really, really good with this!  It gives us time to research flights and quite frankly time to relax and enjoy the rest of this journey.  I can't tell you how good it feels, 4 months after seeing that beautiful face for the first time, to finally have a date!

We sent a pretty long list of questions in one of our recent packages to Sofie and were so lucky to have almost all of them answered and returned to Angela @ Lady Bugs N Love!  She just translated them for me so will share some of them with you:

  • Sofie goes to bed around 9pm and does not get up at night - she takes a 1-2 hour nap each afternoon

  • She likes baths

  • She likes her grandpa to put her on his lap and play with her

  • Give her something to eat or meet her request makes her happy (My kind of girl!)

  • She likes dolls, play hide and seek. She also likes to read and sing songs.

  • To calm her when she cries - give her some snacks or other things can get her attention

  • Her foster grandparents are in their 50's and really love her.  (Sniff, sniff)  Hong Yan especially loves to stay with her grandpa.  They take in foster children because they like children and it helps support their family.

  • The foster grandparents have a nephew and grandson who come to play with Hongyan on the weekends and holidays

  • Hong Yan is a big girl now. Sometimes she is a little stubborn. She is very smart.  (Love it!)

  • Her name was chosen because they hope she will grow up happily just like a swallow bird (And so she will!)

The best part...they told us they are making a photo album for her and will give it to us when we come to pick her up.  This album and these answers will be priceless as Sofie grows up.

On another note, my adorable Etsy art finds arrived so I will show a few of them off.  These will go on the wall above Sofie's bookcase:

Reading IS cool!ABC's

I heart Etsy art

If you haven't discoverd Etsy yet, do take a look.  Lots of handmade treasures to be found!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sponsor Child Update

From New Day update 12/27/09:

Melody was admitted to the hospital on November 18th for surgery.   The nurses and physicians commented on how lovely she is! The surgery was successful and she has recovered nicely.    Melody was discharged from the hospital on November 30th and everyone at the Healing Home was excited to have her return to the home.  Melody can now hold and shake her toys and is sitting up by herself.   She likes to suck on her thumb, especially when there is honey on it!  We look forward to seeing Melody continue to heal and learn new things every day! 

Sweet baby!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What's New? Not Much...

We are still waiting for the U.S. Consulate in China to issue our Article 5 letter so the Chinese adoption authority (CCAA) can start working on our travel approval.  I thought for sure we would hear something this week, but our Travel Coordinator told me that the consulate now only allows agencies to pick up Article 5's on Monday and Thursday.  Well, Thursday has come and gone in China, so it looks like the soonest we will hear anything will now be Monday.

Why does all this matter?  Even though we were being told February for travel, I was really hoping for a miracle and we'd get through this last bit quickly so we can travel before Chinese New Year (CNY), which is February 14th.  CNY is the biggest holiday in China.  Everyone travels from all around the country and the world to be with their families for several days (weeks!) of feasting and celebrating.

All of the adoption appointments are scheduled in order throughout a two week period.  The CCAA, Consulate and provincial offices will be closed the week of Feb. 14th.  This means no one can travel the week before, during and after CNY.  So, the difference between leaving Jan 28th and Feb 25th.  May not seem like much but to be so, so close...and have to wait even longer is torture!  Because of the holiday delay, the appointments directly after CNY will fill up very quickly...this may even push us in to March.  We are really, really hoping that won't happen.

I am still working on Sofie's room.  There are some really cute Etsy art pieces on the way and a few more accessories to purchase and it will (should?) be done!

The drapes are up, armoire refinished and I even painted a little elephant for a wall:

Sneek peak

I stenciled some butterflies on the wall and re-purposed some mirrors I had:

Butterflies and mirror

And there might even be some faux fur accents...!

Faux Fur