Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Article 5 Letter to Beijing!

We are now in the official wait for "TA"  the Travel Approval from China. Our letter called an Article 5 was picked up from the US Consulate in Guangzhou on 11/29 and delivered to the CCAA (the adoption authority in China) on 11/30.  The CCAA now processes the paperwork and sends our agency our official TA.  Once we receive the TA our agency (FTIA) then coordinates between the Children's Institute in Shanghai and the US Consulate to get adoption dates and Visa dates and also coordinate our travel requirements.

We are praying for blessing and favor that the TA comes in quickly and all the arrangements come together so we can bring Lauren home as soon as possible.  Will keep updating as we hear anything!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving and Christmas Decorations

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving, a time for us to reflect on all we have been given in our lives and to be thankful for our salvation in Jesus Christ.

It is our family tradition to put up the Christmas lights on the house and outside on Thanksgiving and start with the indoor decorations and tree.

We were able to celebrate today with Amber and Eddie and had a great meal and relaxing time together!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Some people have asked if we are concerned about traveling with the children and what about school?  Well, our children have been raised as "world travelers" and enjoy traveling, they are well behaved, and we enjoy taking them with us.  As for school, we started homeschooling for Amber when she came home from Russia as she only spoke Russian and had never been to school, our local school system had no resources to assist her in learning and getting her caught up to an age appropriate level.  Cameron and Hannah have only known homeschooling and Cameron now graduates from High School this year.

For those of you who ask "What about socializing with their peers?"  They get plenty of that with all the outside activities they do and besides how many children get to travel to Hawaii, China, Mexico, Florida, the East Coast - etc in the middle of a school year.  Of course our children would complain that vacation is not always fun and games as they still in some cases either have to be ahead on their school work or continue school work while we travel.  Travel also means they get an extra assignment based on either a historical site we visit or the county we are in.

Here are Hannah & Cameron working on their studies today:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Waiting - Slight Delay

Well we are at the part of this process where there is nothing more for us to do but wait - all of our paperwork is done and until we get Travel Approval (TA) from China we can not make any plans and do not have any idea of our actual travel dates.

Our Coordinator/Social Worker with FTIA sent us an e-mail last week that our DS-230 that went to the US Consulate in Guangzhou did not get there on 12th as originally planned due to delays in mail most likely caused by the start of the Asian Games in Guangzhou.  Our paperwork was submitted on Monday the 15th, which means it will be picked up on the 29th and forwarded to Beijing to start the process of getting the "TA".  We are hoping and praying for a really fast TA and then favor in getting a Consulate Appointment date and travel arrangements in a timely fashion so we can get Lauren home as soon as possible.

During the wait Hannah has taken up looking at our blog and the blogs of other families that are in China or have recently returned.  Hannah is so excited - I think more excited about getting her sister home than she is about Christmas!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Celebrating Cameron's Birthday

Today we are celebrating Cameron's 17th Birthday. Kevin and Cameron went to Pole Position Indoor Raceway where Cameron took Kevin 2 races to 1 (although Kevin had the fastest laptime during one of the races).

Tonight dinner will be take-out from Outback Steakhouse - looking forward to some Bloomin' Onion and Chocolate Tower Layer Cake!!!

(Kevin forgot to take a picture of them at the track - but here is someone else racing so you can see what they were doing)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Celebrating Lynda's Birthday.

Today is Lynda's Birthday.

Amber and Eddie came over to help us celebrate with Chinese food for dinner and cheesecake for dessert.

Lynda turned 39 (yes and if you do the math and know we just celebrated our 27th Anniversary last month, she was 12 when we got married). ; )

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nesting and Projects Continue

Well, we are in the waiting game for the next couple of weeks so not much to report on the adoption process. Our visa paperwork is at the US Consulate in Guangzhou, after the approval letter is picked up sometime after Thanksgiving the next step is the Travel Approval from China.  Not exactly sure when we will travel - we are ready.

We have spent the time finishing projects that have been on the "to-do" list for some time, cutting down a tree, trimming bushes, vacuuming the grass (artificial grass in the front and near the pool - no cutting or watering - but an occasional vacuuming).  We also installed the cover on the pickup, here are some photos from this last weekend (and the one of Mia our dog is just because she is so cute).


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lauren's Room and Project Status

Well for anyone who did not believe we would get it done - here is our update with some photos of the "extreme home-makeover".  Lauren's room is done, just need to move in Cameron's old computer and set it up and add a few more items (books, toys etc. to the shelves).

Also, the family room is almost completed, the photo is Hannah watching Olivia on NickJr, just some detail work and move in the last of the furniture.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NVC Approval Letter In!

Well we reached another milestone:  we received an e-mail from the US National Visa Center (NVC) that had a pdf file of our approval letter, this means we can now forward our DS-230 Visa Application to the US Consulate in Guangzhou.  Once the application is submitted (only done on Tuesdays and Thursdays) they will have a letter ready in 2-weeks (called an Article 5) that then goes to Beijing so we can get our Travel Approval (TA).

We received a very plain letter - not very pretty compared to other approval letters we have received from China or other US Agencies - but hey it's an approval!