Monday, October 29, 2007

Going Down the Checklist

When we do go to China, there's a very long list of documents and other items we have to take with us, from a copy of our home study to copies of our passport and visa pages, and so on. Everything on the list is now checked off except for a few items we have yet to receive from CHI and USCIS. Progress, progress!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sibling Difficulties

In the midst of all the activity involved in getting his sister home, Harry's feelings have been all over the place. Today, he came home from school with the second teacher report in two days - he knocked over another kid's blocks, wouldn't listen, and so on. When we read the report, we took away his bedtime stories and computer/TV privileges for the day. He was not happy about it and acted out to the point where we sent him upstairs to his room, where he spent some time crying before he fell asleep.

So I just came downstairs from talking about it with him. He admitted to being worried over Xiao-Ling's arrival and not being the only child anymore. I told him that he will always be our son and will always be special, and having a daughter will never change that. He seemed to accept that and is in a much better mood - for now.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fingerprinted, Again

We're back from Newark, where we participated in a merry paper chase that took us to two buildings, three USCIS offices, several staffers and, for all we know, a partridge in a pear tree. But they took our fingerprints and the new prints should be sent to the American consulate in Guangzhou next week or so. Crisis averted, we hope.

In other travel news, we have officially booked our flights to and from China:

Continental CO89
Leaves Newark Thursday 11/29/07 12:15PM
Arrives Beijing Friday 11/30/07 3:00PM

Coming home:
Continental CO88
Leaves Beijing Saturday 12/15/07 5:00PM
Arrives Newark Saturday 12/15/07 5:40PM

Unfortunately, we are wait-listed to get into first class, even with our frequent-flier miles. Hopefully, a couple of people will change their minds about this flight so we can take their places.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Travel Dates (We Hope) and Creature Comforts

We're going to the USCIS' Newark office Wednesday morning to get re-fingerprinted, but in the meantime, we have our travel dates to China. We're scheduled to leave Newark on Thursday, November 29, returning Saturday, December 15. And we have enough frequent-flier miles on Continental to fly to China first class! (En route to home, however, the three of us will fly coach.) The list of creature comforts is truly impressive, from the seat and entertainment to the menu to everything in between. Too bad the flight is only thirteen hours...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Visas, Part 2, Travel Dates and PANIC!!!

The good news:
  1. China approved our visas and Jacquie picked them up from the consulate in NYC this morning.
  2. CHI confirmed our travel dates: November 29-December 14.
Now the bad news: our fingerprints, which were taken by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) back in May 2006, expired in August, and we can't bring our daughter home without current fingerprints. (Silly me, I thought our fingerprints never changed. Apparently, I am mistaken.)

So we have to get re-fingerprinted. We've spent a lot of time on the phone with USCIS, with CHI, and with our Congressman's office, attempting to get the process expedited as much as possible. We're going back to the Newark office first thing Wednesday morning to get this done again. Here's hoping they process it pretty darn quick.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Home Study Addendum Needed

Back when we started the process to adopt our daughter and our original home study was done, we lived in a small apartment. When we moved to our present house, we got an addendum done to reflect that. And now that China has officially asked us to adopt Xiao-Ling, we have to get another addendum to reflect that. We hope it won't take too long...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Getting the Visas, Part 1

We went through the first part of getting our visas for China this morning. All in all, it wasn't too terrible - just driving into NYC, passing various demonstrators in front of the consulate, and going inside to file our paperwork. Since the consulate takes several days to process visa requests, Jacquie will go back on Friday morning to pick them up.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Travel Dates (Tentative) and More News

We have tentative travel dates to China, leaving on or about Thursday, November 29 (the week after Thanksgiving) and coming home around December 14. Looks like we'll go to Beijing first to pick up our daughter from CHI's foster center, Haikou (on Hainan Island off the country's southern coast) to finalize her adoption, the US consulate in Guangzhou to get her an American visa, and then home.

We also found out that we will not be able to post to the blog directly while in China because the Beijing government blocks all access to Blogspot! We're pretty sure we'll have access to E-mail while we're over there, though - I don't think China blocks our E-mail domain. So we're planning a workaround - E-mail dispatches and photos back to the US and have them posted to the blog stateside. Should work.

And speaking of computers, we don't even have to buy an international power supply for our on-loan laptop; Toshiba verified that the laptop is designed to handle up to 240 volts, which is the electricity standard in China. We only have to get an adapter to make the laptop plug fit into the Chinese socket.

We also got a dresser for Xiao-Ling's room - believe it or not, we were driving home tonight and saw it at the side of the road! I checked it over and found the only problems were cracks in a couple of the drawers. Nothing too terrible to fix, but the previous owner apparently didn't want to take the time. So we loaded it into the car, brought it home and got it upstairs to its proper place in her room. (The cracked drawers are sitting on my workbench being mended with nails and superglue.) The only thing now missing in her room is a desk, and we hope to find one before we go.

More details as they come in...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Getting Her Room Ready

Harry and I have been getting Xiao-Ling's room ready for her arrival in December. We built her bed and her bookshelf together, and last week when we went to his school's book fair, he picked out a couple of posters for her room. One has two puppies with the words "Puppy Love" and the other has a yawning kitten with the words "It's hard work being this cute." He even helped me put them up. (He also got a Spider-Man poster and a Ferrari poster for his own room.)

We're still looking for a dresser and desk, though; hopefully, we can find them before we go to China. CHI is sending us a packet of travel and visa information we can use to plan our trip. Right now, our daughter is in Beijing at CHI's foster care center and not in the orphanage on Hainan Island where she spent her first couple of years.

More to come!

Friday, October 5, 2007

It's Official

After all these months of waiting, we finally received the official letter from China, asking if we want Xiao-Ling Long to be our daughter.

(Click on the image to view it full-size.)

We of course said "heck yeah!" and sent it back to the agency Next Day Air. So we can now call her by her full name, put her photo on the blog, and so on.

So now what? CHI told us that we can expect to travel to China in December, so we're working with them to get our travel arrangements in order. It's going to be quite a trip - she's at CHI's foster care center in Beijing. We also have to go to her old orphanage on Hainan Island (off the south coast of the country, near Vietnam) to do all the adoption paperwork and the American consulate in Guangzhou to process her into the country as a new citizen.

There is, of course, a bump in the process. To our brief horror, we found that when INS took our fingerprints last year, they were good only for 15 months - and they expired in August. Fortunately, CHI told us this happens a lot and all we have to do is renew them by mail.

More to come!

Progress at Last!

We finally received the official referral from China asking if we want Xiao-Ling Long as our daughter - as if there were ever any doubt! More details to come later...