It has been an eventful few days! This weekend went incredibly fast. Sabbath was all about church and naps and resting up for the upcoming busy week.
The other highlight of Sabbath was a Skype call with our daughter, the first one after the adoption has been finalized. It was so amazing sitting there and talking with a child who I know is legally our daughter and that we finally get to meet in only a month. We showed her the suitcase we have for her and all of the clothes we’re bringing to Taiwan. She asked if we could bring her entire wardrobe to Taiwan! Sorry, sweetie, but we don’t have a suitcase big enough for that!
On Sunday, I spent hours researching hotels in Taiwan and getting our reservations made. I am so relieved that we have both flights and hotels for our trip! Only 29 days until we leave for Taiwan and 34 days until we meet our daughter!!
We also went to the mall Sunday afternoon and found another pair of shorts for me. Taiwan is HOT and there was no way that I could survive a week in 90 degree heat with jeans. We stumbled across a sale at North Face and found a pretty blue jacket for my daughter. I also scoured the shoe websites and found a pair of blue sneakers at half price. Now all we need is a swimming suit for her and she’ll be ready to go.
We had a beautiful surprise this morning. I had been hoping that we would receive just one more Skype call before we travel. God is generous and gave us two! We have one scheduled on the 14th and another on the 27th, just two days before we leave for Taiwan. I am so excited!
We have liftoff! We are now the proud owners of two tickets to Taiwan and THREE tickets for the return flight.
I am exhausted but elated. Between the heat and a personal issue and the stress of trying to make travel arrangements, I am exhausted. I don’t know how people do this with little ones already home. My hat is off to mothers who go through this entire adoption process and parent at the same time!
My email inbox is getting really full and my kitchen table is a mess and my Chinese flashcards are piling up. But I was able to clean 2/3 of a kitchen cupboard today! Yippee!!
Tomorrow we’re going to start researching hotels. We also want to come up with several ideas of things we can do or see with our daughter while still in Taiwan. The Hello Kitty Cafe is already on our list. We’ll ask her on Sabbath’s Skype call which of the ideas she’s interested in. Hopefully that will give her a better idea of what will happen when the three of us meet. I cannot wait!
I have been wishing and hoping and praying that we would be able to buy plane tickets in time for our Skype call this Sabbath evening. That way we can tell our girl that we are coming!
My prayers were answered! Our agency notified us this morning that the judge in Taiwan has issued Final Decree on our adoption. This means that the country of Taiwan legally recognizes our girl as our daughter. I am now a mommy!!!
With that notice of Final Decree came confirmation of our travel dates. We will be meeting our daughter on August 3rd and getting her visa on August 5th. I am so excited!!!
Today I emailed several travel agencies and had one get back in touch with me almost immediately. He and I have been emailing back and forth and we now have plane tickets reserved in our name. Once we get the “ok” from our agency, we’ll pay for the plane tickets and be that much closer to travel. Hopefully we’ll be squared away tomorrow!
Today was an awesome mail day! First we received our travel packet from our agency. I’m shocked and impressed by how much information this packet contains.
Reading through it, I started feeling overwhelmed at how many decisions have to be made before we travel. I had to remind myself – one step at a time! One step at a time!
Then we received our Zulily order, which contained two pairs of shorts for our daughter. It was really hard to find shorts that were modest!
I was so amused at how our order came in two packages and they were two different shades of blue. One was delivered by OnTrack and the other by USPS. Efficiency? Not really!
We bought both of these tops at Macy’s yesterday, both on clearance. I’m a bit worried they will be too big for our girly, but at least they are light material and will work well with the Taiwan heat.
We bought this cute purple suitcase a couple years ago when we made some really short trips. Hopefully she likes it because it’s now hers!
Though to be honest, I’m wondering if we will even need a separate suitcase for our daughter. Her clothes are so small they seem like they will fit in our suitcase!
But, the airline gives us two free checked bags each and we’re only taking one suitcase for the both of us and one for her. She’ll probably like having something of her own to travel with. We also ordered her a backpack as a carry on. It won’t ship for another two weeks though. I can’t wait until it gets here!
Is it the end of July yet?
One more tiny step complete. Our AIT letter arrived today.
This letter gives notification that our daughter is “likely to qualify as an orphan for the purpose of eligibility for immigration benefits as an adopted child of US citizens.” What’s odd to me is that they don’t make the final determination until after our adoption is finalized in Taiwan.
If for some reason they determine our girl is not eligible to immigrate, it will be too late. By that point, she will already be legally recognized as our daughter by the country of Taiwan. *insert sarcastic voice here* Oh no. We will have to move to another country. Whatever will be do?” */sarcastic voice*
My husband and I have tossed around the idea of someday moving to another country for a couple of years, just to experience a part of the world. Yes, it would be a shock if we were forced to move rather than making the decision ourselves. But after the initial panic response, we’d be excited for the opportunity. Of course, this is highly unlikely to happen. I’m pretty sure that everyone involved in our adoption is certain that our daughter meets the definition of an orphan and thus will be granted permission to immigrate to the United States.
I am slightly disappointed that we have not been able to finalize travel dates yet. We need to confirm our AIT appointment (where our daughter gets her visa to come to the US) so that we can confirm the day we meet her so that we can buy a plane ticket. But the agency in Taiwan has not yet confirmed this date and our coordinator is now on vacation until Wednesday. Hopefully we will have plane tickets in hand by the end of the week.
Then I can start the countdown for how many more days until we meet our daughter!!
There once was a little girl in Taiwan…
who wanted a family.
And a family in America…
who wanted a daughter.
After lots of paperwork…
and lots of tears…
the little girl and the family learned
that they will soon be united.
We have travel approval!!!
We will meet this beautiful child at the beginning of August. Family Date soon to be confirmed.
I’ve been poking around at travel websites, trying to get an idea for how much money our Taiwan trip will cost. We’re going to aim high so that we don’t have to worry about money while in Taiwan. I am getting really, really excited now! Only a couple more months!
Tonight was our seventh Skype call with Cin-Ru and it was the best one yet. Why? Because we were told that we had our first court hearing on May 8th. At that court hearing, Cin-Ru, her social worker, and the agency director stood in front of the judge as he or she reviewed our adoption petition. The judge asked Cin-Ru if she wants to come to America and if she wants to be adopted.
She said YES!!!!!
If everything goes well, this beautiful child will be my daughter very soon. We have to wait for the judge to issue a ruling on our adoption petition and then there are several other steps to make the adoption final. But the agency thinks we will be traveling to meet Cin-Ru in either July or August. I cannot wait!
Today I wrapped up several small projects. First, I finally retrieved my CD out of my husband’s retired laptop. His old laptop is the only CD drive left in the house and I accidentally left the CD in the computer when I played it a week ago.
Then I scanned the photo that my grandma mailed to me last week. I’m sending the hard copy to my mom but wanted a scanned version for my photo albums.
This is me at 13 months’ of age. I actually rather like this photo!
Finally, I decluttered and rearranged the bookshelf in our dining room.
I decluttered KonMarie style. (Which reminds me that I really need to write up a blog post about the book itself…) I pulled every item off the shelf and asked myself, “does this bring me joy?” If so, I put it back. If not, out it went. Sort of. I now have a growing pile downstairs of stuff that needs to be physically removed from my house.
I’m happy with the results! The top shelf holds my sponsorship notebooks where I keep all of the letters from the children we sponsor, my library books, and review books that I am in the middle of reading and reviewing. The second shelf now holds our Bibles and a row of children’s books. The first couple books are ones that we purchased for Cin-Ru. The rest are library books that I will be reading to better discern what we should actually buy.
The bottom shelf now holds some of Cin-Ru’s toys that require a table to be used. We intentionally chose not to purchase a desk or table for her bedroom. This way, she’ll be encouraged to spend time upstairs with the rest of the family instead of hiding out in her room. I thought it would be a good idea to move these types of toys upstairs so that she can pull something out and play at the dining room table with us instead of in her room without us. I still need to sort through the toys downstairs as I am sure there are more that I can bring upstairs. I’ll leave the dolls and some of the books downstairs.
I’m happy with my progress today! Now off to study Chinese so that I can actually talk to my daughter once we meet her in Taiwan.
We are preparing for our Skype call on Friday and are running into a bit of a dilemma. We’re not sure what to prepare! Cin-Ru is really shy with us. She will answer our questions but has only asked a couple of her own, even when prompted. I can tell that Cin-Ru is a hands-on kiddo and not really one for conversation with strangers (I don’t blame her!).
So far, we have:
asked her a bunch of questions
showed her Mandarin books
showed Taiwanese snacks available here
toured the house
held up a few outfits for her
watched her open two care packages
showed her a birthday cake we baked for her
played with the cat
showed off toys like puzzles, sticker books, art supplies
I’m not sure what else to do! We have a ton more questions we can ask and will continue working our way down the list. I have a fun picture book to read her. I still haven’t been able to read the paragraph I wrote in Chinese, due to the audio issues during the last two calls. What else?
We walked around the toy and craft departments at Fred Meyer tonight, trying to come up with ideas of something we could do that she’d be interested in watching. We left with the store with nothing. The closest we came to buying something was a travel sized version of this game:
Unfortunately, it seemed like a dumbed down version of the game I played as a child. I don’t know if the newer ones are all like that, but it played a really annoying song between each game and never gave us more than four beats to repeat. I remember going up to 8 or 10 in the pattern but this one seemed really simple.
We have three days to come up with something. If you have any ideas, please let me know! When I posted on Facebook asking for ideas, almost everyone had talkative kids. We can’t rely on conversation alone to carry us through a 30 to 45 minute long call. So what worked for them definitely won’t work for us!
I can’t wait to see Cin-Ru and find out how she’s doing! I just hope she doesn’t find us boring.