Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Flights are Booked!!

We have dates and our flights are booked!   We will be leaving Chicago on Wednesday, July 11th and will have a direct flight on United to Hong Kong.  We arrive on the 12th and stay that night and the next in Hong Kong, with a day to rest and do some sight-seeing in Hong Kong.  From there, we take a flight on the 14th  to Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province- where we will stay and meet our daughter!   Our gotcha day is scheduled for Sunday, July 15th.  I find it so crazy, but cool, that our LOA was on Evan's birthday, TA on Rick's birthday, and gotcha day will be on Elijah and Jonah's birthday. :)  We had a big birthday celebration this past Saturday for our Landyn who is now 3 and or Elijah and Jonah who will be 4 on gotcha day.  We know my mom will make their real birthday special, but are sad to miss their birthday.  However, we will try to skype with them and they will be getting the best birthday present ever- a little sister!  :)   Back to the travel talk...we stay in Fuzhou from July 14th through the 20th and on Friday the 20th, we fly from Fuzhou to Guangzhou, Guangdong province where we will stay at the Garden and get to meet up with a bunch of other families traveling at the same time as us- can't wait to finally meet them and to see their child/children with their forever families!   There looks to be about 7 families with our agency that week, which would make sense why we had to wait an extra week for a consulate appointment (CA).  Our CA will be on Tuesday, July 24th.  We will then leave Guangzhou (not sure if by train or van yet) the evening of the 25th and head back to Hong Kong where we will spend the night and then take off the next morning on a direct flight to Chicago via United again to Chicago...home sweet home!   We have our hotel booked or Hong Kong and are waiting on travel details from our agency for the in-China part and to see how much we will owe them for that.  We are waiting to hear back from a grant we applied or and should have an answer likely early next week- praying to receive one!   Flights were very very expensive!

So very excited, but so much yet to do- starting my piles for packing and checking packing lists to see what else we will need to bring with us.  15 more days til go time!  Can hardly believe it.   In just 18 days, we will be holding our little girl in our arms- incredible!

Monday, June 18, 2012


What a coincidence that we would get our Letter of Approval (LOA) on Evan's birthday and our Travel Approval (TA) today...on Rick's birthday!  What gifts! :)   It looks like many people are getting their TA today but the interesting thing is travel dates are all over the place for those people- some leaving as early as June 28th, many leaving the week of the 4th, and it looks like the Lifeline crew and a few others are leaving the week after that- around the 12th-13th, once it is confirmed.  Our agency rep said Consultate Appointments (CAs) were booked until the week of July 23rd- earliest available.   We thought we'd leave right after the 4th, but we are just so thankful to have TA and to know we will finally be going to China to bring Lena home!  Looks like our gotcha day could be on the 16th (15th here at home- Elijah and Jonah's birthday).  That would be one year and about a week from the date we submitted our Letter of Intent (LOI) to adopt Lena!  The time has finally come!!

Now to get packing, booking tickets, preparing things around the house and for the kids we are leaving at home, setting up who is watching them when...the list goes on!

What a great day...would be even better if Rick was home with us to celebrate, but we'll celebrate over the phone!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lena is Getting Big!

We just got an updated photo and updated measurements on Lena today!   She sure is growing!
If her measurements are accurate, she is 37.4 inches tall, 27.5 lbs, and with a 5.9 inch foot.  She seems tall to me and has big feet, but still seems fairly light.  I will have to measure all my boys when they wake up from a nap now! :)  Evan is short for his age- but he just turned 5 and is 41 inches tall.  She just might end up being taller than some of her big brothers!

We are still waiting on our travel approval- still looking good for leaving shortly after the 4th of July.
We received our passports with our visas in them in the mail so we're good there.  Once we have a confirmed consulate appointment (a few days after TA), we will be booking flights.  :)

We are coming Lena!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Finally waiting for the LAST step!

A lot has happened since I last posted.  We got the pdf we needed for our agency so that they could have their in-China rep. drop off our Article 5.  We waited the standard two weeks and our Article 5 has officially been picked up by our agency rep. and couriered to the CCCWA where we will wait for the infamous Travel Approval (TA).  This can take 1-4 weeks, but it seems to be about 2-3 weeks right now.   Once we are issued TA, we wait a couple days to set a consulate appointment date and then once we have that we can book our trip!  Very last minute and expensive of course, but very exciting!

We had a rummage sale over Memorial Day weekend!  I owe the biggest thanks ever to my mom- she was amazing!  She helped price things with me all week, she helped watch the kids and get them off to school that Friday, and she helped run the sale all weekend and pack things up every day.  Couldn't have done it without her!  And a huge thanks to so many friends- I don't want to forget anyone...you all know who you are!  Thank you for your donation of items for our sale, for baked goods, for your time helping us get set-up, organized, or pricing, and to the wonderful friends who just made a donation out of the kindness of their hearts.  We are blessed.  Between Friday and Saturday and half a day Sunday (after church)....minus a few hours of a rainstorm Saturday morning, we made about $1,000!  Not bad!
Enough to pay for our visas, which we mailed out for on Saturday and should have back in a little over a week or so.   It should also help us cover another piece of the astronomical travel costs as well.

Tonight we went to a concert in a local park- our local school for the deaf's SIGN SONG Dance Team.  It was a lot of fun (minus chasing after the little who were antsy).   The kids were amazing.  I kept thinking about Lena maybe having that opportunity some day!   We got to practice a little signing- some vocabulary and some finger spelling of our names.  I learned some more that I had been wondering about from a friend of a friend's daughter.  :)   The deaf community here is so united and supportive- I loved witnessing that and look forward to future events WITH our daughter!  Pictures to come.

Now to get Lena's closet totally ready and to preparing for our trip- for leaving 4 of our kiddos to packing for myself, Rick, Evan, and Lena.   A lot to do, but it will all come together!  Come on TA! :)