Thursday, November 29, 2012

Journey: to a discovery!

(Had to change picture due to China guidelines...)

What an incredible few days it has been!!! We are certainly on a journey to discovery!
First off- good news on the paper chasing front. We sent off the I-800A tonight. It is the next step in our journey to get David. The I-800A has to be processed which could take up to 50 days. At that point there are still more steps but for now we're done with paper work for awhile.

Now for the amazing news! We found out that David is not only in a foster home but he is in an AMAZING foster home in Beijing- New Day Foster Home. We've been thinking that he was in his province- Xinjiang, so this news was a little strange. We've gotten to see more pictures and learn so much more about our son!

So here's the story- I shared our blog address on a message board that I check and read often. They have a place to show off your new child :). I received a message from another member saying that she thought David was the little boy she is sponsoring via New Day Foster Home in Beijing. I was a little confused thinking that he was in Urumqi. She shared the web address of the foster home and told me how to find "Calvin" on the site. I skipped over to their address and sure enough under the kids in "Beijing Foster Home" was a beautiful picture of our son. At first I was just confused- how was this, we're they using his photo? But it wasn't a photo of him that I have... then I got worried and panicked a little. I called Steve who suggested I call our agency. They were super nice and helpful and reassured me that this happens. A third party organization is contacted by the orphanage to provide care for some special need kids. She said though that any information about David's medical condition has to come from his home orphanage and when we go to China we will pick him up in his home province and city. So, yes- he is in Beijing right now!

Now onto more fun stuff! Someone who adopted via New Day emailed me and shared what an amazing place it is. She also told me about their blog and suggested I email the director, which I did. Seriously such an amazing place!!! I read some posts on their blog and then saw they have there posts organized by child. So I clicked on "Calvin" (that's the name they gave him but after I emailed the director they said they would begin calling him David- awesome!!!!, they've already changed his name on their website) and found lots of posts featuring David- I read it one carefully and cried tears of joy knowing that our son is being loved on and prayed for by so many people- many people who I've never even met! How awesome is our God- AWESOME!! So, the waiting hasn't gotten shorter but maybe a little bit easier, maybe. Knowing the David is being loved, hugged and prayed over each day does help!
So how can you find out more about our little one? 
Google- New Day Foster Home and click on "kids", then "Beijing Foster Families" and the first little one on the third row is our guy!! To see the blog visit Love Grows Here. Once their scroll a bit down and click on "Calvin" and you'll find lots of information on our son. Also, they're on facebook which is where I got the pictures for today's post (had to take those off, these pics are from their blog). LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!!
Thanks so much for following along on our Journey to David!!!

New Day is not an adoption agency- they are a home for kids who are waiting for adoption via the CCCWA (china's adoption organization). People sponsor these kids and through that New Day is able to provide for the kids at their home. The foster home houses kids and there are many foster families. David visits the foster home but he is with a foster family. He has a little sister (not biological) at his home. Like them on facebook to get lots of neat updates about kids who are in China now and ways to support them!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Journey: to a room

For so long now we've had any empty bedroom upstairs- well it does have a rocking chair, books, and some stuff animals but that's it- it looked sad! So now that we have David on the way we need to get busy!
We took advantage of some deals this weekend and started filling it up!
We've picked out a crib (I think) and will paint during the Christmas holidays. I've been eyeing some cubical shelves and got those for a great price- so worth waking up at 5am! During our shopping we also got David some toys :) It was very hard not to buy every fun toy out there but I tried to hold myself back! I did buy something for his birthday- I like planning ahead :) We went ahead and bought "Elf on the Shelf" as well. I've seen so many ideas on Pintrest that I knew we would be starting that tradition with David. We now have a chest for his clothes as well- progress!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Journey: through paperwork

One thing I've learned a lot about through our adoption process is organization. The number of papers that we have to keep up with is crazy! I have multiple copies of passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, emails, receipts, and many, many other papers. We originally had 1- 3 inch notebook and recently started a second one due to the amount of stuff we have to keep up with our move to the Waiting child list. With our most recent FedEx package we got a list of papers to take with us to China, it's getting more real every day! I have become addicted to page protectors and tabs :) That can't be a bad thing, right!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Journey: to an update!

 We got updated pictures of David on Friday- so exciting!! It's also a little frustrating that he's growing up in China and not in Waco! We're so ready to travel! Along with the pictures we received an update on David's development.  They haven't done another heart check so that will probably happen when we go to China. His foster parents say that his favorite toy and thing to do is "kick a ball" and play with other children. They also report that he can say simple words- melt my heart!! Seriously, this waiting is for the birds!!
We bought furniture for David's room this weekend along with new furniture for our den. We're deciding what colors we want to use in his room- so many choices! We're so excited to get his room set up! I am having a hard time reining my shopping in... there are certain stores I just can't go in without buying something for our little guy. It's so fun!! I've read some blogs recently that discuss the wait and how to make it easier and most suggest starting a project. I do have to get my summer trip shutterfly book done and with Christmas around the corner there will be lots going on with seasonal activities. Oh, and I do have school every day which does keep me on my toes. My students love seeing David's picture and talking about getting him from China- they're so interested! Guess I need to go upload summer pictures if I'm going to get that book completed!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Journey: to I-800A

What is the I-800A?
Right now it's the next step in our journey towards getting David!
The I-800A is the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) "Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country." So basically it's the next part of our paperchase. The I-800A includes an application, home study, copies of our birth certificates, marriage certificate, and passports. Right now we're waiting on our social worker to finish the home study so we can send our packet to USCIS. It will take from 40-60 days for our I-800A to be processed and reviewed.
What happens after you get the I-800A?
Once the I-800A is approved (hopefully there won't be any problems, our agency goes through everything very carefully) USCIS will send us an appointment to get our biometrics (fingerprints) taken in Fort Worth.
So what do you do now?
We WAIT! for the I-800A to be mailed and approved- yuck! The I-800A is not the final step to travel, there are plenty more.
We PRAY! We pray for David and the people who are caring for him in China. We pray for his heart, that the hole will close and he will continue to be healthy.
We SHOP! We have a little boys room to set up. We haven't settled on a "theme" but have been looking a lot. We've picked out the crib/toddler bed/full bed as well as furniture for his room. His first Baylor gear has been purchased.
We READ! There are books, blogs and many websites to read. I especially like reading blogs of people who are home from China with their new families!
We PREPARE! We have books to read, friends to talk to and decisions to be made about David's care after the summer and I start back to work. We have to decide on a pediatrician and pediatric cardiologist. We have to child proof our house- plug covers, cabinet locks and stair gates, oh my!
So, you can see we have plenty to keep us busy but the waiting is hard. I especially am ready to get the I-800A sent since that MUST be done next.
We BLOG! I'm going to try and keep things updated with where we are in our process and the fun of the holidays.

Journey: the LSC!!

Our LSC arrived on Friday via fedex (my new best friends!). The LSC (Letter Seeking Confirmation) is the official document from the CCCWA that says we can adopt David!! We had to sign it and check the box that says "we accept the referrel." It is a very important document that we have to take with us to China. I've made several copies of it and now have it in a very safe place. Usually it can take weeks to get the LSC- we got ours in 10 days!! One step closer to travel!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Journey: to David!

These three pictures are with me day and night. They're up in our house, in our offices, on our phones! These are the three pictures we have of our little boy~ David Steven Cates!
I may be biased but I think he is pretty cute! In these pictures he is 8 months old. He is now 15 months. So how did we get here and why isn't he a she? I'll try to answer all your burning questions as we move along :) So, now you know why it was time to brush off the 'old blog and get busy!
We've been in the process of an adoption from China since 2007 with a LID of 1-29-2008. When we started the adoption process we thought we'd wait maybe 2 years but not longer. Boy, were we wrong! With each email from our agency our wait time long got longer and longer and longer. Soon I couldn't even read the emails I just put them into an email folder.
This past spring my sister made some new friends both of who had children adopted from China's Waiting Child List.

The Waiting Child list is different from regular adoptions because the kids on the list have minor to severe medical needs. We had lunch with one of the couple's and their precious kids. We felt like moving to the Waiting Child list might be the right move for us. We met with our agency in May which was great. They were very helpful with our questions. We discussed and prayed about the change and decided it was the right move for us. As we were preparing to prepare our paperwork I got side tracked with the end of school and an update on our kitchen. Then we went on vacation for a month. During all that time we knew what we wanted to do we just needed to sit down an get busy- easier said that done!

Fast forward to end of September- things had finally slowed down a little bit from the beginning of school so we pulled our the paperwork and got to work. We turned in our Waiting Child list on October 3rd while at the same time letting our social worker know we were ready to get started updating our USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). On October 4th I got a call from our agency about our profile - we had had to sort through a laundry list of disabilities and disorders of children that we were willing and able to handle as well as choose the age we were okay with and gender. About 5 minutes after I got off the phone with one worker I got another call from our agency. This time it was a different worker within Waiting Child services who said they had a file for us to review! Less than 24 hours and they had already matched us with a child!! I took some quick notes and said "YES" to them sending the file to us.

Xin Zhengyuan is from the Xinjiang Province in China. His birthday is August 2 (our anniversary), 2011. He has VSD which is a small hole between his 2 ventricle arteries. He lives with a foster family and goes to the child welfare center during the day.
Our agency suggested we send his medical file to a doctor for review. We sent his file to 4 doctors who all agreed that it is a small hole and will likely close on it's own. If not, the surgery would be routine.
We were allowed to keep his file for 2 weeks for review. We sent our Letter of Intent less than a week after getting his file. The LOI was our way of letting China know that he was the one we wanted!
There is so much more but for now you have the beginning of the story.