Wednesday, February 28, 2007

WOW !!!!!!!!!!


In the mail today, Wednesday, February 28th we recieved our I-797, also known as the I-171. This is TWO WEEKS, yes, just FOURTEEN DAYS after we were fingerprinted!

We are on our way, just needing two last documents to be ready to submit, my birth certificate which was mailed to Washington, DC on Monday. It gets one more trip home and one more trip to DC, and we need Amy's passport which we sent off for two weeks ago.

I have not heard of ANYONE getting their documents so quickly after fingerprinting. We are grateful, amazed, and blessed.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

When Love Takes You In - Steven Curtis Chapman

This is the 3rd time I have posted this video since starting this blog..Mostly out of selfish reasons. I was never a huge fan of this song until one night at a concert, it hit me and I think it solidified our decision to pursue our daughter from China. I hope any new readers will enjoy this!

Monday, February 26, 2007


I woke up from my nap to find Michael home, who had brought the mail in. In the mail were 2 letters from the Senators offices that we visited last week. At least we know someone wrote back.
I am at work and I have just made sure that all forms we are sending to Houstin have been copied. I have written the cover letter and gotten the application ready. I just need Michael to double check and add the money order!

Michaels BC made its way back to DC today and I thought I made a mistake by sending it FedEx but apparently they only accept FedEx. Whoo!

My old college neighbor posted below and shes been logged in for a few months. I cant wait to hear more stories from her!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Its Amy

I'm glad Michael has been posting because he is very good with words. TO continue with the paperchase, I hope to send Michaels BC to DC tomorrow. Its been almost 2 weeks since we were fingerprinted..Lets hope we get a miracle and get it soon! Im trying to stay positive. I talked to one of the plastic surgeons at work today..There are 2 pediatric ones who work at my hospital. I asked him if he does a lot of cleft lip/palates on Chinese children and he said his surgeries have doubled this year already. He said for some reasons, Chinese children usually stay an extra day and that may be because of low birth weights or nutrition deficiencies or such. It was nice to talk to him about that.. I think it would nice to adopt a special needs child if this one goes smoothly. I guess we will see..


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Another small step

Today in the mail we received my state certified birth certificate from Maryland, so it will be mailed off on Monday to some office in Washington, D.C. after which it will come back to us and be mailed to the Chinese consulate in Washington, D.C.

Funny thing is I just finished watching season 4 of "24" and they do some things at the Los Angeles Chinese Consulate in that one. :)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Recap of a 2nd Productive Day

So friends, yesterday was our second consecutive productive Wednesday regarding our paper chase. Not everything went the way we anticipated, but here is what we have to report.

I went to work from 6:30 to 11:30 while Amy got some sleep as she had worked the night before. I got home a little after noon and we got everything together and started out on our mission around 2pm.

Our first stop was the office of the Secretary of State of Georgia. Mapquest was a little vague and the result was we circled a block twice before discovering the place we needed to be is a two tower building atop the Georgia State University MARTA station (MARTA being our bus and train system in Atlanta). We paid $5 to park and climb a steep hill to the entrance which is behind a nice park with fountains and war memorials to Georgia's fallen soldiers. The walkways have benches and bench swings.

We entered the capital office building and immediately came to an information/security desk where we were asked our business and for our identification. Amy seldom carries her ID on her so this was a problem. I showed my driver's license and we were told Amy would have to wait downstairs. I proceeded to the 11th floor and found the office. I told the receptionist I needed document authentication and she said she would call the person I needed. I asked about the security measures and another employee was heading out. That employee heard me and asked for Amy's description and she actually went down and got Amy for me.

The process at the Secretary of State's office was quicker than the County clerk of Courts as the county guy had to hand type a lot of things including our notary's last name (Chwemelewski). We had all 9 documents certified and paid our $90 in about 10 minutes and the documents were very nicely set up in official folders.

We left downtown and headed towards home to make stops at our two Senator's offices. I did not use mapquest, but had looked to see where we needed to be. We circled Cumberland Mall a bit and found Johnny Isakson's office first. There we met a case worker who told us things have increased tremendously since January 1, as the immigration people have added more staff to process I-171 applications. Everyone in this office looked very Republican, all clean-cut white men wearing ties, it was like a room full of Alex P Keatons.

We went next to Saxby Chambliss' office which is less than a mile away. There was seemingly no one there except an attractive young woman who greeted us and set us up in a room to fill out a request form for intervention to go with our letter requesting help. As we left we helped ourselves to some of the GEORGIA PEANUTS which filled a bowl in both Senator's offices. Perhaps this could be a nickname for our baby, the Georgia Peanut.

Since we had finished our mission, we called Amy's sister and found she was not feeling well throughout the day. We told her to go rest and we went to grab a snack at McDonald's and then drove to her hotel. Kelly was not feeling great and we debated what to do for the evening. The end result was we took her to Jason's Deli where she made a salad and got some soup and cheesecake. We took Kelly back to her hotel and we headed home until it was time to head out for trivia. We were in 3rd place going into the final bonus which we answered correctly, but did not wager much on, so we won nothing but had a good time.

FYI - the final bonus was "Who was the highest paid child actor in the 1980's?" Answer - Gary Coleman. The other question that hurt us also was a bonus with wager - "In 1998, who was the oldest woman to have a number one single in the US pop charts at age 52?" We guess Streisand for her duet with Bryan Adams - it was Cher.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Another Work Day

Today will be another good day for the adoption journey as I will be at work until 11am or so after which I will come home to get Amy and we will drive the half hour or so downtown to visit the Georgia Secretary of State's office to get our documents certified at the state level. After that we'll be visiting the offices of our two senators to petition them for help in expeditiing the I-171.

I'm thinking if we have time afterwards we'll go see a movie together before we go pick up Amy's sister Kelly (she's in town for her job) and take her to trivia tonight.

Whats going on.

I received so many wonderful ideas on the post below and I thank all of you. Today, Michael and I will head downtown to get things state certified and then we will figure out what to do next. I am royally confused but just emailed my agency so I hope they can help!

Presently, we are waiting on:
1)my passport
2)the famous I-171
3) Michael birth certificate (which went fro Maryland to our house back to Maryland and when it comes back, it will go to DC and then back to us and then back to DC and then back to us and then our agency and then China! Was I clean enough??

Thanks for all the prayers and support!

Sunday, February 18, 2007


There are a few of you who are also going through this experience of have already completed the process! I want some ideas on how to bring the culture into our family while we wait. We have every book to read and plan on reading a lot once we are logged in!
Im looking for anything that will keep us occupied!Whats keeping you busy?

Happy New Year!

Today marks the day to celebrate the Chinese New Year! Hope you have a good day! Found this article on CNN today..Click here!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I-171 wait Day number 3

We expect a wait of a few months but we are trying to be patient! Hope everyone is doing well. I am suprised at how many people have asked if we have a name picked out yet. The answer is no. MIchael and I have quite a list of traditional names that we like, but thats about it.

FYI, Using delivery confirmation, Michael's BC made it to Maryland and now we are waiting for it to come back so that we can send it to DC!!!!

This weeks adoption plan:
Take documents to Sec of State to sign! Glad its in Atlanta!

Prayer Requests
1. That all documents get where they need to go
2. Pray for our patience
3.That nothing gets lost in the mail
4.That we can stay organized
5.That our marriage stays strong as we prepare for this huge change
6.Pray for those that are caring for the babies in China
7.Pray for our friends who are also adopting

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A VERY Productive Day

Good Afternoon Friends!

Amy and I are relaxing at home for a few hours while Lucy is at doggie day-care and befoe we head out to trivia tonight. More importantly, here's our day so far...

6:15 am wake up

7:15 out the door heading to the Immigration offices in Atlanta to be fingerprinted for our I-171. It was an efficient and painless task, using no ink they now use digital scanners and a lot of Windex. While we were there we chatted with another couple who are adopting their second child from Kazihkstan. They had their 4 year old daughter Alma with them and it turns out the husband is a teacher at a school very close to my restaurant. The only weird thing is they have a rule that you cannot have a cell phone on your body in the building. They don't frisk you or anything, they just ask, and if you say yes you have to go back out to your car and come back in.

8:45 We were at immigration for about 45 minutes total and on the way out we hit a Chick-fil-a for some breakfast and headed up to the CCAI offices to talk with the dossier advisor. We cleared up a few questions and found a change we need to have made to my medical form. Jamie notarized all of our current documents and we found out we need to send my birth certificate back to Washington D.C. after it comes back from Maryland, and it will be done. I figured it was a null element considering I was born on Federal Government property, but since my birth certificate is from Anne Arundel County, MD, we have to play this game where we sent to MD to get it, they sent it to us, we had to send it back to MD to do something extra to it and now it will return to us so we can send it to the Chinese consulate up there.
The good news is there is a county court office and car tag office about a mile south of our old apartment and we were able to take everything Jamie notarized to that office to be certified. We'll take some time next Wednesday to go to the Georgia Secretary of State's office to have the county certification done and we'll be set for all documents except for the I-171!

10:45 Being done at the county clerk's office, we drove home to get Lucy and take her to doggie day-care. We continued back to Sandy Springs for our Valentine's lunch at Carro de Bois, our favorite Brazillian restaurant. It is one of the type where you serve yourself at a hot and cold food bar and return to your seat where servers come around with many, many wonderful meats including lamb, roast pork with parmesean, garlic pork tenderloin, chicken, sausage, and about 4 or 5 types of steak. It's the kind of place where you eat very little before and after your trip. We chose to do lunch there to avoid the dinner rush for Valentine's evening and we are going to trivia tonight.

12:45 We finished lunch and headed back to the house for a pit stop before heading out again for Amy's 2:00 appointment at the post ofice for her passport. That took til about 2:45 but Amy shold have her new passport with her correctedname in time to make a copy for the dossier and she'll be set to travel next year as well. We stopped at Walgreen's on the way home and got our extra passport photos for the dossier as we needed 3 sets each.

So now it's about 4:30 and we're back at the house watching "Little Miss Sunshine" before we have to pick up Lucy, our own little miss sunshine and we'll go play trivia tonight with Peter at Winston's. So we accomplished a lot today and we are happy.

This report brought to you by Michael

Monday, February 12, 2007

Birth Certificate

Today, I sent Michael's birth certificate back to Maryland to get it authenticated. I'm glad its done and we can get on to our fingerprinting on Wednesday. I also have an appt on Wednesday to renew my passport and/pr get a new one as I can not find it and I also need it in my married name.

So, I get in line, make sure its priority mail and leave. Then I realize I forgot to add the 5 dollar check! Whoops! Back in line I go, ready to mail another envelope. Bless the postal worker, she found my package, opened it, stuck the check in and sealed it back! That was nice of her!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Happy, ecstatic for friends!

Our first Friday friends received their 171 form today! How exciting! There is hope that ours wont take 12-13 week! I am thrilled for them..They will soon be logged in!

Friday, February 09, 2007


Its time to paperchase. Michael and I are getting fingerprinted Wednesday at 8am and the we wait on the I 171. You will hear about this form a lot, as its the last big thing you need before sending your dossier to China. Michael and I will have to go over all paperwork on Sunday and begin getting things notarized and then going to the county, and then the state secretary and then Washington DC and the the Houston Consulate. Dont worry, we dont have to go to these places but please pray that Fed Ex doesnt lose the important papers!!!!

We will let you know how things go on Wednesday!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mark Schultz -

ANother awesome adoption video!!! Its good and he is so wonderful with words!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Home Study received today

We received our homestudy from our agency today! Oh how I love getting mail. It was notarized so now we must collect all of our paperwork and start the great paperchase.

On another note, I met Miss Abby whom I have heard about for months. there is a patient whose family adopted Abby from China about a year ago. She is not even 2 and she is the most talkative baby from China I have met! Shes awesome! the mom and I shared stories and it was quite nice!

A home study is a pretty neat thing. It was neat to read how a social worker views us just by our autobiographies, interviews and recommendations!

I am ready to be logged in and have all this over with although I will tell you, it hasn't been that bad! A few people at work have been asking questions and that's been cool. So far, everything has been positive!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

First Friday

Last night Michael and I had a sort of date night. After watching this weeks ER, we headed to dinner at a Mexican restaurant. After our dinner, we proceeded to go to our First Friday gathering, which has been a great support for the adoption process. We met a new China baby, celebrated with a couple who recently got a referral of their little boy (they were expecting a girl) and got to know people who were also in the waiting stages. I have enjoyed this greatly and I wish everyone lived closer so that we could spend more time with them.

The family who opens their home for First Friday usually talks a little bit and answers some questions. I am happy to say that after a few months, we actually participated and received some hope. Even though it was a smaller crowd, I am really glad that we went!

So this week, we we will be sending Michaels birth certificate back to Maryland to get it notarized and authenticated, we get finger printed on Valentines day and the wait for the most wanted piece of paper, the I-171!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Its us again. I feel bad that there has not been any substanance to this blog lately. My posts have just been updates and not the good stuff. For that I am sorry. We are thrilled beyond belief and I am ready to absorb myself in the Chinese Culture and traditions and hope to post a lot here. I think I am afraid. I really want to wait until our dossier is actually in China and then focus on the other stuff. I shouldnt be afraid. If we are turned down, we will seek elsewhere.

On another note, my friend took care of a patient who was adopted from China. I spent some time with them and learned not only did they use CCAI, but they are about to use them for the third time..It was nice to talk to him and to hear the dads version of this.