4/26/2006No News is Good News!
Yesterday an optimistic hope of mine was confirmed. A lady on my local adoption list received her USCIS approval only 3 weeks after fingerprinting! I thought I was being optimistic by counting on 2 months (many in my state have waited up to six months after printing!). But they did a big clear out on Good Friday and I think they may be caught up. I had a secret hope that being caught up meant that they would push out the approvals quickly in order to STAY caught up for awhile. We were one of the first groups fingerprinted after the clearing-out so we might benefit! The lady who received approval was fingerprinted just two weeks before us. If we get our approval in two weeks, we could receive it between my birthday (May 6) and Mother's Day! This is very good news for us but sort of sent us reeling. We were comfortably stagnant! Now we are considering changing agencies (ours is still not active in Vn), we are finalizing our documents to get ready to certify the week our approval comes, getting ready for a referral. Wow, things can change very quickly!
So today will be busy doing a lot of the things we thought we'd be doing this week NEXT month! Hurray for progress!
4/21/2006Finished Mei Tai
Here's my finished Mei Tai
I can't wait to make one for our new baby in a pretty silk brocade or something pink. I hate that I love all things pink so much these days, I can't help it. Anyway, this weekend we are going out of town and I'll have to tote this four year old boy around at naptime so we'll see how it holds up (or how *I* hold up).
4/17/2006A little more progress
I just have to think of more creative blog titles!
Today I called the FBI to make sure that our prints cleared on the 13th. They did and were both submitted the same say to the USCIS. Now we wait. The long wait. It should be about 2 months until we get our I-171H.
But maybe it's a good omen. Today I also received my passport, 2 weeks earlier than the passport office website indicated it would be delivered. There are no errors so I am now free to leave the country! I feel the need to use the passport now. Maybe I'll drive to Canada this weekend, just to do it. When they ask me my reason for border crossing, I'll tell them I want to break in my passport. :-P
I'm done with all the nitty gritty details of adoption prep. We are essentially DTV. We just need that I-171H. Unless we get the approval way earlier than anticipated, we will probably have to update our medicals and we still have to pick up new police clearances but since those are time sensitive things, we are waiting until we get the I-171 H to do both.
Waiting is coming as quite a relief. I don't need to worry (like I will during the post-referral wait!), I don't need to think, plan, coordinate, wonder. I just sit and go on with life like those pre-adoption days. It's weird. And nice. Our little one must be picking up on it because he has not stopped talking about Vietnam and Madeline all day long! He's only 4 so his understanding of adoption is sketchy. We just keep talking about it. I am sure I've explained it before but he was shocked to hear that our baby would be born from a different mother. While we were out today, we ran into an elderly Vietnamese man who needed lots of help with toddler bikes. Noah was sooooooo excited when I told him, later, that the man was Vietnamese! He is also practicing his french because he hopes someone will be able to talk to him in french when we are in Vn. Fun, fun, fun!
4/13/2006Fingerprints N Stuff
We had our fingerprint appointments this morning, so those are out of the way. We'll call in a few days to make sure they were of acceptable quality. While downtown, I also spun over to certify a few documents, just to get the hang of it. So now I know what to expect. I'm anxious to do them all but have to wait until we get the I-171H.
So now we should be about 2 months away from I-171H and 3 months from DTV.
Dalton's passport will get here tomorrow or Saturday. I am anxious to see if it has the corrected birthdate info that I called in earlier this week. I'm particularly anxious since I can only check his progress by using the OLD birthdate info online. That worries me. We still have plenty of time to correct it, however.
4/10/2006I'm Here - Where are You?
I'm doing that obsessive thing where I check every blog I know and love for updates. Why aren't you all updating daily? Write silly drivel, it's ok with me! I just want something to read to pass the time.
Today I found out you can check the status of a passport application online. I did this with Dalton's still-missing passport and it wasn't even entered into the system. This is Not Good. I submitted his with Teegan's over a month ago and Teegan's was delivered 10 days ago. I submitted my own passport two weeks ago and MINE is in the system! Where is Dalton's!?!
I called and they refused to take the call - Mondays are busy, try back on Tuesday that robotic voice suggests. SO I called back and pretended to be a spanish-speaking non-touch-tone-phone owning passport applicant and finally got through to someone. It's amazing what Not Pressing The Button will do (those guys on Lost should try it sometime). When verifying his information it was discovered that they entered his birthdate wrong on his passport which is why it wasn't coming up online. D'oh! Thankfully they were able to correct it on the spot before it was sent out (penciled in for sometime this week). I can't imagine the hassle it would have been to correct it after the fact. Must have been a typo on their part because I can't imagine how one birth certificate and one passport application verifying his birthdate could have translated to a wrong date.
On Thursday, we go for fingerprinting. I'm actually dreading it. Wanna know why? It is the beginning of the end. The end of Things We Can Do To Get Ready For The Adoption. The end of feeling powerful, in control, busy, productive, proactive. After that is done, we are dead in the water. We can't do anything for the dossier, we can't yet get a referral, we can't even state certify stuff (Shhhh - I'm going to anyway!!). We are dead in the water with nothing left to do but wait. And I'm out of projects at home to keep me busy. And I"m out of money to shop. And I'm out of patience. I know I should be happy - one big check off the list but then......NOTHING. It will be a 2+ month wait until we hear from INS again with hopefully our approval. It's possible (maybe even probable) that they will not contact us with an approval but with a request for more information. They do that a lot here. That will set us back another month. I haven't decided how long to wait before getting a congressman involved. Some people wait until 3 months go by. That is the quoted wait time. I saw someone who started bugging at 6 weeks post-fingerprinting and she got her approval at 8-weeks post-fingerprinting (still 3 months from beginning to end). But I don't want to piss anyone off and set us back either.
Today I had that same shocking realization that we have the wrong name for our daughter. I'm still trying to figure that out. Usually I am 100% sure that the name we have is the right one. The only name I have ever doubted was Dalton's middle name - I STILL regret it and feel like it was the wrong name. I do love the name Madeline - it was the name we were going to use for Noah if he was a girl. But now I just don't know (again).
Well, enough time has past where I think it's safe to go check those blogs again. Hope I'm not disappointed!
I wrote this article the other day. I'm so annoyed at the whole celebrity adoption thing. And then just this morning I read in Mrs. Broccoli Guy's blog about Ashton Kutcher. I'm going to choose to believe he was just trying to be funny and poke at celebrity fads. Please tell me that's the case.
4/04/2006From the horse's mouth
We have a family friend who came over from Vietnam with my boys' grandparents. My Mom asked her the question recently circulating on a few Vn adoption lists about the appropriateness of calling HCMC "Saigon". Here is her response:
"Diep says Vietnamese people like to use Saigon, but it's totally acceptable and will not offend anyone to use Ho Chi Minh City. She also explained in her own way the following:
As the old name Saigon could not be abolished, the authorities conceded to a compromise and kept the name Saigon for the center of Ho Chi Minh City. Therefore the entire city officially is called Ho Chi Minh City, while the center officially is Saigon."
4/01/2006Another happy check!
Today our fingerprinting appointment letters came! Only two days after our receipt (instead of the expected 2 weeks) and the appointment is in just under 2 weeks. Hurray!!!! Another surprise since I was afraid the appointment would be for a month out or even more. YESSS! I can't say how happy I am that things are going faster than anticipated here. Of course the long wait is after fingerprinting but we have some local tips and hints on how to handle that. We are still on par for getting our I-171 in June! Yay!