SO - I have been in the process of getting multiple letters written by multiple people and updating all my financial information with the adoption agency. I have to provide proof of income, evidence of who will take custody of Sunshine if I were to pass away and estimated net worth. All of this has to go to various state secretary of states to be authenticated prior to going to the US Secretary of State and the China Embassy.
(No this is not my paperwork, thankfully I only needed 1 thing authenticated)
I sent a document to the Idaho Secretary of State last Monday afternoon, I paid for 3 day shipping to get there and then 2 day shipping to return to me. I knew that I would be getting this document this week (as opposed to last week). So, I watched the tracking to ensure it made it to its destination. It got to Idaho in 2 days and sat at the sorting center for an entire day (because I paid for 3 day shipping instead of 2). It finally made it to the Idaho Secretary of State this past Thursday. Seeing as how it was already Thursday, I'm thinking that I am going to get it returned by the middle of this week, so I didn't even think about checking the return tracking. On Friday, I went out my front door to get something and I had a FedEx envelope sitting by my door. I was floored!! In less than 24 hours, the document had been authenticated, sent back to Fed Ex and returned to me!! This is impossible ... even the envelope said on it "Monday Delivery 10:30" .... so HOW did it get back to me over night?! The amazing part about this is that if I hadn't send my documents to my adoption agency by Friday, I would have had more difficulty getting it to the next step. ONLY GOD could have made this happen.
There are so many things that God's hands have been on throughout this process. From his name, given to him by the foster facility, and how it directly coincided with a sweet little girl I had been treating who went to the Father's arms. A secret fundraiser that raised the amount needed at that time to pay adoption fees. Receiving 2 grants right before another round of fees was due ... equaling the exact amount (minus $250) needed for that round of fees. To this - getting paperwork back quicker than possible. He has kept Sunshine safe, healthy and happy and allowed me to travel to China to not only help with other adoptions, but meet amazing people along the way.
Is it frustrating that I am having to do all of this extra paperwork to prove that I am a worthy parent, of course. However, with all of these pieces that God has already proved Himself (not that he needed to) ... I know that there must be a reason for it all and it gives me comfort and patience.
SO, what kind of travel time are we looking at now?
Well, unfortunately, this is still a very difficult question to answer. December is out of the question, January is slipping by and February is looming. China takes a week off at the end of January for Chinese New Year - no government workers means nothing moves forward. At this point, I am really thinking mid-February .... but there are still several more stops for my paperwork to make - any one of which could cause another set-back.
It's worth it in the end. Adoptive parents who have already gone through this process (once, twice, 3-4-5x) will frequently remind those of us who are in the "paperwork trenches" of this. I'm sure that this will be the case when I am out of the other side of this - but man, the waiting is TOUGH!!
On a separate, and amazing note, I only have $2500 left to raise to be fully funded!!! This is so incredibly amazing and I am in disbelief! If you would like to get in on helping bring this sweet baby home, please donate to Lifesong (Worthy of Much Love | mySTORY) to have your donation doubled!! $2500 more and I will be ecstatic and so ready to bring Sunshine home!!!!!
Another way to help support is to check out the items they have at Noonday. Some very special people are having a Noonday party and 15% of the profits will be sent to Lifesong to be doubled. If you are looking for some very neat Christmas gifts or hostess gift for all the holiday parties coming up, please consider purchasing items that help bring Sunshine home!! Just go to: bit.ly/noondaycaroline to check it out!!
That grants have come in and I am SO CLOSE to being fully funded!!
- That my paperwork begins to move quickly and is granted full favor.
- That I will be able to finish raising the $2500 needed to be fully funded
- That Sunshine will be healthy and happy the rest of his time in China.
WELL - I am back in the US (have been since last Thursday) ... man I really stunk with keeping the blog updated when I was in China! I really hope that that is not a preview of how I will do on the adoption trip!!
SO, let's see. The volunteer trip to China was amazing and I was desperately trying to figure out how to stay for one more week ... but, it just wasn't feasible. I was able to spend some time in the city that I will be going to when I go to adopt Sunshine, I am so thankful because I now know where some food is and things to do while we are there.
When it comes to paperwork and where the adoption is currently - well, that is somewhat of a sour subject. I was really hoping that his approvals from China would come in while I was in China ... but they didn't. Then, this past Friday, people who has submitted their dossiers on the same date that I did started getting their approvals, so I was thinking that for sure I would get approval early this week ... unfortunately, that didn't happen. Instead, the Chinese government is requesting more information. This means more letters that have to be written to support the fact that I don't have 100,000 in assets that they want (since I am single), letters that assure that someone will take custody of him if something would happen to me, letters of confirmed employment and salary to ensure that I make enough to support both of us .... information that has mostly been iterated once, but I know that confirmation is sometimes required. The disheartening part of all of this is that I don't know yet if these new letters have to go through the entire process of being notarized, authenticated by the State and then sent to the Chinese consulate prior to being sent to China .... if they do, it will easily set this adoption back a month or more ....
I found out all of this information yesterday, I spent the day trying to come to grips with the fact that I will likely not be with Sunshine by Christmas ... it is so hard. I am still working on raising all the funds needed to meet the $5000 matching grant. Around $3700 is left to meet the grant and raise the full $10,000. I am fundraising like a mad woman! Currently there is a facebook auction going on, it ends on Sunday, October 30. If you would like to join in the fun, please follow the link (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1096089613795270/)
Today was a somewhat busy day. We left our hotel in Nanchang at 9:00 am and headed out to Yichun. This is about a 3 hour van drive away. I was not thinking and didn't put my motion sickness patch on soon enough and really struggled getting there without getting sick ... however, I made it!!
We got to the orphanage around 12 and had lunch with one of the directors and 2 pharmacists. This orphanage not only houses children, but also over 100 elderly. We had luch family style with traditional dishes from this area. After feeling sick for 3 hours, I wasn't exactly up to eating - rice was about all I could handle.
After lunch, we went to our hotel to check in. It was definitely a little sketch on the outside, but good on the inside (which is all that counts)! After getting our stuff settled, we headed out back to the orphanage. We did assessments on 11 kiddos and one little girl just grabbed my heart!! She is aging out soon and I know that her family is out there somewhere!! She is super smart, but has some needs. If you may be interest in learning more, please don't hesitate to contact me!
After assessing the 11 kiddos. We had dinner, family style, at the orphanage. The food was great and we all had some great conversations with the staff. Tomorrow we leave at 9:00am to head to Jian. Hopefully sleep with come easily and we'll all be energized for the kiddos tomorrow!
Our first day of work included seeing 27 kiddos from an orphanage at the official government building. This is the office where I will go to finalize Ari'a adoption.
We hit the ground running - seeing 17 kids before breaking for lunch. It was all VERY hectic, but we made the best of our space and resources.
Most of these kiddos were ambulatory and able to get around fairly well. Various diagnoses, but they were happy to play with us all!
We ate lunch at a buffet - various meets, rice , noodles and sushi. For dinner we went to a traditional family style Chinese restaurant. If you have never seen this, it is typically a large round table with a huge lazy Susan on it - sharing all of the platters. And, as is Chinese culture, way too much food was ordered. We all came back to the hotel and some went to walk around and check out the scenery. I ended up going straight to bed as it was already past 8:00 pm and jet lag had caught up! I slept from 8:30 pm to 5 am ... it was much needed!!
So, for the next 2 weeks, this adoption blog will get a little sidetracked... I am currently in Nanchang, China and will post about the trip on here.
Let me back track a bit...
Over the summer, the Government Authority over orphans in China decided to take over 2,000 files from their shared list and divide them between 4 US adoption agencies so that they could work on updating these children's files and advocate for them to have adopted. Gladney's SuperKids sent out a request for volunteers to go on trips to various provinces to help them in this process. When it was first announced that they were needing volunteers, I really wasn't too sure that I wanted to. However, a little but later I found out that they were planning on going to the Provence that Sunshine is from ... I couldn't pass up spending some extra time learning about the area where he may have some relatives. So, I said yes... and here I am, in Nanchang, China!!
My journey started early on Saturday Morning (Oct 8) - getting to the airport around 4:45. I would have been earlier, but 5 minutes after leaving the house I coukdn't find my passport, so my sister had to turn around and go back. I ran into the house and couldn't find my passport anywhere (and I knew I had grabbed it) ... so I went back to the car again ... lo and behold I found it laying in the driveway. Somehow when I was putting my luggage in the trunk, the passport had fallen out of the car and I had not noticed. I was just thankful to find it!!
So, after that we got to the airport with no problems. I left Arkansas @ 6:20 ish and was in Chicago by 8:05. I met a good friend from college at the airport and we chatted and had Starbucks. It was great to see her ... it had been 2 or 3 years since we last saw one another!! I love that our friendship is one of those that just always picks back up right where we left it .. if is rare to find that type of friendship!
I then went back through security (which was SUPERfast .. Chicago was rockin if). And went to my gate. They decided to do a document check prior to boarding ... EVERYONE on the full international flight to China had to stand in line and get their documents checked - insuring proper visas and passports. By the time I got through to line, I was able to get in touch with 2 of the other people on my team - we ended up having seats close together.
Once we were all boarded, I found myself sitting in the aisle seat with 2 Chinese men sitting next to me. Let me tell you, the seats in coach on an international flight are SUPER tight!! Plus, being on the aisle, every time someone wants to get up, you have to get up. Every time a flight attendant goes down the aisle, you're likely to get hit accidentally. I was SO glad to get to Beijing!!!
I got off the plane in Beijing as quickly as possible because my one checked bag was staying in Beijing - donations to Sunshine's foster facility. I was trying to hurry to meet to lady from the foster home, but I got stuck in this:
A 2 hour wait through customs ... the longest line I have ever seen (other than Disney World).
Once I finally made it through, I got the big suitcase to the person it needed to go to and all was well.
I went back through security again (my goal was to go through security at EVERY airport I stop at ... so far I have made my goal!! Haha).
We left Beijing at 7 pm and I was so exhausted that I slept the entire 2.5 hour flight to Nanchang. Here we met up with the other. 2 members of our team and our translator. We drove the 20 ish minutes to our Hotel.
This is across the street from the hotel and we saw a super awesome lit up Ferries wheel and the bridge and building across from us all have changing lights. It is best to look at, but since the AC is turned off in october here in China - sleeping with the window open is a must ... those bright lights don't help with sleep!!
I am so glad that the cape fundraiser has been doing so well!! There is 1 week left to place your order for capes (Oct 1 is the deadline). If you still haven't ordered your cape(s) yet, make sure you do so today!!
I have been patiently waiting on my Letter of Acceptance (LOA) for this adoption to move forward (currently on day 29) and I hope that everyone can pray with me that it will go through in the next week. The first week of October is a national holiday in China - yes, the entire week! SO, I really am pulling for my LOA to be complete next week ... PLUS, the second week of October, I will be in China on an advocacy trip with Gladney's Superkids. I am very excited about checking in on these kiddos and helping update their files, but I don't want it to put any paperwork for the adoption behind!
The purpose of this trip, for me, is 2 fold - while I am very excited about helping with file updates, this trip is occurring in the province that Ari is from. This will be an excellent opportunity to learn more about the culture he is from and give me a "dry run", so to say, before going back to China for the actual adoption.
So, while I have been getting ready for this China trip, catching up on work stuff and preparing the house for Ari - last weekend I threw my back out. It is crazy how something so simple (bending down to shave your legs) can lead to debilitating pain. It has taken an entire week of Dr. & daily Chiropractor visits to get me standing up straight again! I am still not pain free, but I can move so much more than I could last weekend! SO- time to catch up!
I am still working on raising the $5000 for the matching grant received - so far there is $850 towards the grant and hopefully there will be more opportunities for fundraising soon! I pray I will be able to have a successful online auction soon .. :)
Praises: The Cape fundraiser continues to do well and I am going to visit Ari's province!
- That fund raising continues to go well
- That the trip to China is very successful and safe
- That I will be able to show Jesus' love to the children I will come in contact with