Sunday, February 24, 2008

Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About Traveling To China To Adopt A Baby

While we were away on vacation we got an email from our agency with a 60 page document containing details of the process of traveling to China. It includes packing lists, sample itineraries, a bunch of forms we will need to fill out and all kinds of good stuff. It is a pretty overwhelming document really. I have read through the document once but will probably need to read it a few more times to absorb everything. We did a little more shopping over the weekend, mostly for stuff that we will be needing to keep organized up until and through our trip. I am leaving most of the shopping we have left for Jen to do because basically I hate shopping and she loves it. So that should work out OK. I will probably handle most of the paperwork that is left to be done. We are also awaiting word from the USCIS on our third fingerprinting appointment as ours expire soon. I have heard from some people in our travel group that the Boston USCIS office no longer gives you the option to come in to get fingerprinted anytime during a two week period. They now give you a specific date and time to come in when they decide. Not very convenient now that I no longer work in the city.

Still nothing out there for rumors. Right now I am thinking that there is a 50/50 chance that we will be getting our referral in the next batch. Jen is a little less optimistic and is thinking more like a 10% chance that we will get our referral in the next batch. We are trying not to get our hopes up too much but it is hard not to.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The BabyMoon is definitely over

We arrived home safely late last night to find 6 inches of snow on the ground. I think we were pretty lucky to actually fly into Logan as many flights were cancelled. Our trip was great though, warm weather and relaxation really does the body, mind and soul good. We resisted the urge to bring the laptop to check the rumors and it really kept our mind off things. Although the first thing we did when we got in last night was check for rumors. Seems like there aren't really any rumors out there to speak of but we should expect to hear some this week. Some pics from our trip below.

This was the view from outside our room. We had a cool little hammock swing that was built for one but Jen and I fit just fine.
Jen enjoying a Red Stripe in the swing watching the sunset.

Steve on the beach

This cools little hummingbird visited us every evening.

Another beautiful Jamaican Sunset.

This guy landed on my arm one day, kind of looked like a ladybug except the colors were inverted. Maybe a Jamaican ladybug.

Our last night enjoying dinner at the Rockhouse at sunset.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Dare we say this is truly our last childless vacation? I think it is at least our 10th "last childless vacation" at this point. I shouldn't complain though, not really the worst problem to have. Poor us, we are going to the Carribean one more time. I'll leave you with one of our favorites from Bob.

Sing it with me....

"Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,'
Cause every little thing gonna be all right!"

Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', ("This is my message to you-ou-ou)

Singin': "Don't worry 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
"Singin': "Don't worry (don't worry) 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!

See ya in a week!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


The province this month on our Chinese calendar is Shaanxi. Shaanxi is located in north-western China and has a population of about 37 million people. It is known for its terra cotta soldier army unearthed in the 1970s by a farmer. Shaanxi is a province that our agency has gotten referrals from in the past so there is a chance that Grace could be from Shaanxi. Looks like a beautiful place to visit in the spring.

Monday, February 11, 2008

What's Up Doc

Now that we are getting closer to referral, one of the big to dos on our list is finding a pediatrician for Grace. We were kind of dreading this since we have no experience with pediatricians and have heard some horror stories about doctors being hesitant to work with the specific needs of parents traveling for international adoption.

We realize that all doctors will not be completely familiar with the needs of international adoption so we were prepared to educate our doctor if necessary. Jen was so excited when I got home from work today. She had just gotten off the phone with one of the doctors (who happens to be Chinese) she wanted to interview and she really liked him.

He told Jen that while he wouldn't consider himself an international adoption expert he has many patients who were adopted from China so he was familiar with our needs. He has no problems writing us any prescriptions that we will need in China which was one thing we were a bit concerned about as some doctors seem to have a problem with that. He is willing to look at our referral after we get it and also suggested we have an International Adoption specialist look at our referral as well. Jen told him that we were planning to use Dr. Laurie Miller, who is the local renowned international adoption specialist. He told Jen that he knows Dr. Miller well and has worked with her in the past. She didn't even need to ask him most of the questions on our list since he answered them in their normal course of conversation.

The office that he works out of seems pretty convenient as well, both proximity wise and the services they offer. They have evening and weekend hours as well as 24 hour emergency call-in. They also have quite a few doctors on staff so if, as Grace gets older, she doesn't feel comfortable seeing a male doctor she has options.

As much as this adoption process has been long and trying the big tasks, like finding the right agency and doctor, seem to have come pretty easy for us. So it looks like we have found a pediatrician who will be a really good fit. One more important task checked off our list.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Exciting Stuff

On Friday we got an email from our agency entitled "Assignment Preparation Letter". It was basically explaining how things would work from here on out for us. They told us a little bit about how the day will go when we get our referral. They also told us about some travel/visa related stuff. In addition, they told us we should start preparing our care package. This is a box of stuff we can send to Grace in China, things like a photo album with pictures of us, blankets, stuffed animals and a camera so we can get some pictures of her and her caretakers.

They were quick to point out that getting this letter does not necessarily mean that we will be getting our referral in the next batch but it still got Jen and I excited to get something from them about referrals.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

This and That

Jen took 8 more glass stones out of her jar at work leaving just 9 more stones to go. That jar is starting to look pretty empty. We really can't believe that we are so close to getting our referral. We are still thinking it is pretty unlikely that we will get our referral in March but the possibility does exist. Most likely we are looking at an April referral. We are now able to do some more adoption related tasks that we have been holding off on like talking to our employers about time off and interviewing pediatricians.

We also celebrated 25 months since our Log In Date on Tuesday. It's not really much of a celebration, I just sent an email to Jen when I realized that it was the 5th of the month.

I am sure most people have seen the news about the storms in China. With all of the excitement about the big batch of referrals I hadn't really been paying that much attention until very recently. For those who are unaware, China is currently being battered by extremely cold weather and snow in some of the warmer regions that normally do not see cold weather. This is the worst weather the region has seen in over 50 years so they are not equipped to deal with it. Unfortunatly some of the orphanages are without power and heat. Others have sick babies, are runnning out of supplies, and have had equipment break down. With our impending adoption getting closer it dawned on us that Grace is probably in one of those orphanages. Kind of a helpless feeling but fortunatly there are some great charitable organizations over in China that accept donations and are doing what they can to help. One of these organizations is called Half the Sky. Hopefully our donations get to China and help the babies out.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Comparing the Years - February Edition

I usually wait until the cutoff is official before I update and post my monthly referral charts but since the CCAA is no longer updating their website I guess we are now as official as we are going to get. There have been a few families with LIDs of 12/27/2005 reporting referrals so that is 8 days which is a pretty significant sized batch. Looking at the chart below there was an 8 day batch in November 2007 but that batch included a couple days with very few families logged in because of the Christmas holiday so that 8 day batch may have been a bit inflated. The last time the CCAA referred more than 8 days was back in March 2007 which was an 11 Day batch.

Interestingly, if we overlay the above chart by year (see below) we see a similar trend for 2006 and 2007. In 2007 we started out pretty similar to 2006 but then the 2006 numbers started to drop to about half, which seems to be pretty consistent with this year so far as well. Last year the numbers dropped from February to March, as did the year before. I hate to make any predictions based on these charts but there is something here regarding the trends so read into them as you wish. Hopefully since the numbers are so low this year we won't see a significant drop, maybe even a slight upswing which we are really hoping for with a LID of 1/5/2006. I guess as they say in the financial industry "Past performance does not guarantee future results". But we can all hope.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

We Drank the Kool Aid, and it was goooood....

It looks like the rumors of them getting through the 27th this month may be true. There are reports of some agencies getting referrals for the 27th. I expect that they will start arriving en-masse on Monday.

So then the million dollar question is: what does that mean for us with a LID of January 5th. Could we possibly get a referral next month? I do think it is possible but I am leaning more toward that we will have to wait until April. In order to get to our log in date next month they would have to get through 9 days. It has been a long time since the CCAA referred more than 8 days, so that is not working in our favor. I think the best way to predict how many days they will refer is by using the online polls and projecting out based on how many poll respondents they have been averaging. But even this method isn't always reliable as we saw last month. If we do use the polls to project out to the next batch they should be able to get well past the 5th. Looking at the polls there are only 5 days with a significant number of people logged in because of the weekend and the New Year's holiday. So the possibility is there. My gut tells me that they are going to get to the 4th and we will miss the cutoff by one day. We have had the fear that we will miss it by a day all along so that is what we are thinking at this point. But I don't want to get ahead of myself as the 27th isn't really official yet.

We really needed to hear some good news this week as the last couple weeks have been rough for us. Jen's Dad had a health scare last week, thankfully he is going to be fine but he had us all pretty scared for a while there. Jen is also dealing with a work-related issue that no person should have to deal with, especially Jen as she is the sweetest girl I know. Those close to us are aware but it looks like things are starting to get resolved. So things are looking up, we are headed to Jamaica in a couple weeks and we will probably see our daughter's face for the first time within a few months. We can't ask for much more than that.