Saturday, March 29, 2008

Emily's room

I am almost done with Emily's room. I still need to find a rocking chair and I would like a muralist to come and paint her name on the door and a small painting of birds and toile on her wall above her crib. She had done such a great job in the boys' bedroom that I want her to do something for Emily too. I will have to post the boys' bedrooms some time. I love kid's spaces..they are so much fun to decorate! Lastly we need to find the rail to the crib to convert it back from toddler bed to baby crib. All the furniture in her room was also used by both my boys in their nurseries..."twinkle twinkle little stars." It's hard to believe it's the same furniture as it had such a different feel in their blue and yellow nursery. I really love that all my babies will have slept in the same crib..the sentimentalist that I am!

We went to Disneyland in Feb. and I couldn't resist buying Emily her first princess dress...Princess Aurora's dress from Sleeping Beauty. She was my favorite princess growing up. Of course, it is way too big and it will be another 2 years before she wears it...I still couldn't resist. I tried to get my oldest to try it on so I could see what it would look. No go..he was not going to try it on. I then tried my second son...flat out refused. Oh well...I will just have to wait. The last shot is her bathroom. She has her own bathroom and it is connected to her bedroom. Actually the boys have their own baths too. Each bedroom had 2 closests so when we were remodeling we were able to change one closet in each room into a very small bath for each child. What a luxury!

I changed my mind on the bedding. This set came out recently at PBK and I couldn't resist. I love the little pink birds!! It is so sweet! Now if I can just find that rocking chair I will be all set!

Friday, March 28, 2008


It's hard to believe we have been back in the states a little over a week now. It feels like our trip to Russia was just a dream. I miss our baby girl. I have been shopping for her like crazy. Now that we have met her it feels so real the hope of a daughter. My boys are getting excited too. At least once a day my oldest will say I wish Emily was here! Me too, I say. Me too.

I had a few documents left to send in to our agency for our second trip and I'm happy to say I'm officially done with the collecting of paperwork here in the US. We have been very fortunate that our agency takes care of our dossier for us including apostilling, notarizing, getting visas and making travel arrangements. They are a full service agency and we are so appreciative of that!What I sent back in: our passports for our new visas, our updated medicals for the entire family, our 171-H, and an updated employment letter. Not too bad!

I got to talk with my casemanager today. He is guessing ...just his guess, he says, but we may end up traveling back at the end of next month...April!! How wonderful as I was originally thinking middle of May. Of course, it's just a guess and we won't know for sure until we hear back from the judge about our court date. So much to get done again...I'd better stop daydreaming and get to work! I still need to figure out what gifts to get the caregivers at the babyhouse.

Friday, March 21, 2008

We are home!

It sure is nice to walk into customs in the US and hear the words "Welcome Home." There is no greater feeling. As much as I love to travel and as much as I miss being in Russia with my baby girl, it is really good to be back home where all is familiar. We are so glad to see our boys. How've missed them!

I will post again later. Just wanted to let you know we made it home.

Monday, March 17, 2008

4th and 5th visits

On Sunday we woke up to find it had snowed and a blanket of snow covered everything. It was beautiful! Being from our part of California we don't see the snow often. And it had probably been a good 8 years since I've seen the snow last. I was so excited and we went crazy taking photos of the city and babyhome covered in the snow. After we ate our breakfast at the hotel we met our driver/translator at 10am and headed off to the bank to exchange money and then went to the baby home. Since it was the weekend we got to play with our little girl in this big playroom which is used during the week for toddler gym classes. We were just so excited to see her. She was a little better today...she did not cry when we came in the room but she did make some unhappy noises when our translator left her alone with just us. But eventually she was okay and explored the room to her heart's content. She is an explorer...loves to check out her new environment and see and touch everything. In fact, she explores very well with her touch. Even when meeting her each time she holds out her hand to you for you to kiss her palm or put it against your face. And she does it with everyone. She is so cute! She also loves to make and hear new sounds. I don't think I ever realized how many new sounds I could make with my mouth and hands and feet. She tilts her head to the side and listens and then if she likes the sound she will give you the biggest scrunched up grin and make this cute happy sound which I think is her laugh. We lived for this expression...I have never tried so hard in my life to get a certain reaction from a person over and over again. But it was addictive to get this happy smile and sound from this little baby. Hubby and I were trying all day to see that expression from her. She also loved the swing in the room and to fly around in papa's arms. And she is so cute when you feed her the cheerios she will feed one to you even if it's her last cheerio. So sweet!

So we know she is very smart. Her caregivers told us she knows where all her body parts are. If they say where is your nose, she will touch hers. And by the end of our visits if we said to her in english, where is your nose she would touch hers, or ours. Also if I said mama...she would touch me and papa the same for hubby. She also knows the names of all her caregivers, herself and all her friends in her groupa. Everyone there seems to be taken with her and this makes us feel so happy and so proud. How funny we feel so proud of her already!

During her lunch and nap we went to the factory where they make the china for the city. Many russian families have a set of this china that they use for special occasions. We found a beautiful blue set for her. It is very beautiful and comes with a teapot, set of 6 cups and saucers, 6 dessert plates, a compote dish, creamer and sugar bowl. I could not believe how inexpensive this set of china was as china is so expensive in the states. Ideally I think it will make a great wedding present for Emily someday. We then went souvenir shopping and for her I found a matryoshka doll that has a bell inside. It is a toy that you shake or roll on the ground. I also found a colorful porcelain horse ornament to hang on the X-mas tree for her first ornament. Every year we buy an ornament for our children that represents something from that year. With the idea in mind that when they have their first home they will have a set of ornaments to hang on their tree. So only fitting Emily's first ornament should be from her hometown. The last present I got her was a handpainted laquered box. The image is of the Church of Spilled Blood that we visited the other day. It is the city's most famous church and was built in the famous russian style with the 5 onion tops. I thought we could put a nice necklace in the box and give it to her for her 16th birthday.

After the shopping we toured the St. Isaac's Cathedral which is right across the street from the hotel we have stayed it. It is also a magnicificent church. For lunch we stopped at one of the local fast food joints that serve the famous perogis. Sweet bread pies stuffed with meat, vegetables, eggs or dessert pies stuffed with fruit, custard, chocolate. Their fast food restaurants makes American ones look so bad. It was a nice, sitdown restaurant. A casual family friendly restaurant nicer than a Denny's. Granite on the tables, leather bound paper menu not a laminated plastic one. It was very good and I highly recommend trying them!

In the afternoon we had another visit with Emily and then we came back to the hotel. Hubby and I ventured out for dinner and ate at Da Vinci's a yummy italian restaurant with a coat check. It was very funny to watch the men help hubby take off his jacket and then at the end of the meal put it back on. Hubby really wanted to do it himself but the gentleman was determined to help and held out the jacket for Hubby to put first one arm in and then the other. I was waiting for him to help Hubby zip up too. That would have really had me on the floor in hysterics. How uncomfortable American men get when in too close proximity to other men. The dinner was delicious and I had a Banana colada to go with it. Yummy! The restaurant turned into a discoteca later on so they were testing the disco ball out and setting up the colored lights in the center of the restaurant. After dinner we went for a walk and people watched. My favorite. I really like this city we have been in. It's a really fun place to be with good food and lots to see and do.

Today..Monday the 17th was our last day with our Emily on this trip. We got up and tried a yummy cafe out for breakfast and had a pastry or two and a latte. It was fun to watch all the people coming and going in the downtown. Public transportation is very good here and there are many people using the bus, train and metro systems. From our view we could see people coming and going. Everyone is dressed up here in the downtown and looks very nice. All the women are thin and look very stylish, very feminine. Black is very popular in the winter for both sexes and leather black boots hitting just under the knee are very in. Women also wear gloves and hats and scarves tucked into their jackets. It reminds me a lot of Boston with the beautiful old buildings and the nicely dressed, fast moving and serious looking people.

After breakfast we went to the babyhome to see Emily. As soon as we came into the room and she saw us she came running to me with a huge smile. I was so happy! Finally, finally! And a great way to end on. She was so cute today! The pink tights and the short dress with the matching diaper covering bottoms was just too cute. We played with her in their music room today. She loves musical toys. And she watched everyone coming and going from the room as it is a pass through to another large room called the sensory room where they give massages and play soft music. When it was lunch time we got to watch her eat at her little table and then play a little more with her before her nap.

During her nap, we went to the babystore and bought some diapers for her and some toys for her groupa. This babystore is like our Babies R Us except it also has toys for older kids too. We then went to lunch at an italian restaurant called Mama Roma. The food was very good! And then our translator took us to see the monument and museum dedicated to the victory of Leningrad against the Germans for the seige of their city during WWII. It was very moving!

Then it was time to see our baby girl one last time. We arrived in the groupa and they put this cute pink bunny ears headband on her. She looked so cute! She was so happy to see us! And then we went downstairs to play again in the music room. When it was time to go I was afraid I was going to have a huge meltdown but I felt very at peace with it. We returned her to the groupa and gave her all the things we had brought for her including her photo album. The caregivers are very friendly and looked through the album. They stopped on the photo of our oldest son and said he looked just like Emily, which we of course agree. They said "borat" "brother" to her and she came and pointed to the photo of her "brothers" and laughed. Such a smartie she is! We left our disposable camera and the notecards to write messages to her. And then since it was normally the babies eating time they dressed her in an apron and a hair net. Apparently she likes to help the caregivers with meal time. She looked so cute! A mini caregiver! And she walked with her caregiver and us to the kitchen downstairs so she could help get the dinner ready for her groupa. Oh! What a cutie she is! But her in her apron and hair cover was just too much! I wish I could show you the photo! So we feel good that she is doing so well there and we know it will be very hard for her to leave when we come back. And I will feel so bad for her and her caregivers as they all clearly love her and have so much fun with her. She is such a little cutie pie!

And just as a sidenote. Seeing all the kids here was really very hard. I couldn't help but wonder does this child have a family? Or this one? And they are all cute! You just want to pick them up and love them all. I have also seen other russian families here either visiting their bio. children or grandparents visiting grand-children or russian parents meeting their to-be-adopted children. It does seem that a lot of children will be adopted from this home and that makes my heart feel a lot lighter.

So we are off to eat and then get ready for home. We are heading to the airport at 4:15am for our first flight back to Germany.

Wish us well for a safe trip home!


Saturday, March 15, 2008

2nd and 3rd Visit

On Friday we ate breakfast at the hotel and then our driver/translator picked us up and off to the baby home we went. Emily, naturally, is still very unsure of us and unfortunately we were in a busy room today which did not help. As soon as she would relax and enjoy playing with us someone would walk in the room and she would freeze, start crying and run to them. And they would pat her on the back and say something reassuring to her and then point to us and say something to her in Russian and then say "mama" and "papa" and then walk on through and she would just fall a part crying. I would go and pick her back up and comfort her again and just feel so bad for her. Poor thing. Then she would eventually sigh and begin playing with us again until the next person came in.

We are just so tickled with her. And she is such a little doll. She is tiny and walking all over the place. She is fast and very busy investigating every square inch of the room. She is very observant and hears every little noise and notices every person and thing. She seems drawn to music and playing games. She is also clearly very happy and social as every adult seems to know her and talk to her when they come in the room.

We returned her back to her gruppa today and got to see all her friends and caregivers. She was so happy to be returned and just lit up when her caregiver came to take her. The kids in her gruppa are very cute too. Half have families coming for them already. It's a nice room like a playroom with the bedroom attached. The caregivers are all very nice and it's clear the kids are very attached to them. All the kids froze when we walked into the room and just stared with these unsure expressions. Apparently hubby and I have this effect on all russian orphans and not just our daughter. We hope to get more time to visit with the gruppa and watch Emily interact with everyone.

During her lunch and nap our driver/translator took us to lunch at a very good mexican restaurant and then we went to see the church of spilled blood and went to an outoor market for souvenirs. I found a very pretty matryoshka doll and a small laquered jewelry box to give to Emily someday. In the afternoon we returned and played again with Emily. She settled in with us a little faster and let hubby hold her a lot. After our visit we went back to the hotel, called our kids, who are missing us terribly. We feel so bad that we are so far away and can not hold them and calm them. It's an awful feeling to feel so helpless. We ordered in room service with ice cream (we needed it after talking with the boys) and watched a movie on the laptop.

On Saturday we headed back to the babyhome to see our little girl. She had a much easier time with us today. We got to take her to a new a large carpeted playroom used for gym classes. She was so cute. She likes to be held and will just cling to you like a little monkey. She is so light and when she smiles she scrunches up her eyes and opens her mouth in a large smile and you can see her teeth. She has 4 teeth on top and 2 on the bottom. She is also teething and tries to chew on everything. It is so funny...she will sink those teeth on backs of chairs, basket balls, ring toys, and she even tried her shoes! Gross I know, but so funny!

I discoverd she likes to be sung to and turned upside down. She loves the slide and the swing and playing peek a boo. She is fascinated with our tongues, mouths and nose. She likes to make noises and will stop whatever she is doing and try to mimic the noise. She learned the word for nose today in english. If I say...nose..she will touch her nose. It's very cute.

She is really taken with hubby too. She loves to play games with him, grab his nose and be carried around by him. She is also very girly. The very first day she had on this very cute little dress and she would just stop and sway back and forth to watch her dress move. She also stops to look in the mirror and just smiles when she sees herself. And she loves shoes. I dumped out my backpack looking for a certain toy and she saw the new pair of shoes I had brought for her to see if they were her size. She dropped whatever she had and picked up the shoes, one in each hand and I swear she smiled the biggest smile. She carried those shoes around a long time before I could take them from her and try them on. Then she would stare down at her feet. It was so funny! She also watches me when I take off her old shoes..a very worn but cute pair of red leather sandals with 3 colored leaves sewn on them. I'm always taking off her shoes because I don't think she gets a chance to see her feet very often and she watches me like a hawk if I pick up and move her shoes somewhere. The first time I took off her shoes she just smiled and scrunched up her toes and then she stood up and walked around. Then she stomped her feet and looked back at me with her cute scrunched up smile.

When we returned her for lunch we got to visit a little with the gruppa and watch her eat. She sat at a little table and held her bread and ate it. Her cargiver feed her mashed vegetable and meat soup. She also could hold her own cup and drank a sour fruit drink that is boiled on the stove.

After our morning visit we went to see the Yusupov Palace. It was very beautiful. My favorite room was their private theatre. It was amazing! I have never seen anything like it. And then we went back for an afternoon visit with Emily. This evening we got back to the hotel room, called the boys and went to dinner at this very cozy little russian restaurant. They have delicious food and candles on the table. It felt like date night. Then we went for a walk around the square and headed back to our hotel.

I'm beat! Goodnight all!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Packing tips continued...

I forgot to mention that hubby and I used a 22" rolling suitcase each as our carryon and that we used the eagle creek medium sized space saver bags and that is how we got so much in our carryon. We each brought 2 pairs of pants and 4 shirts, half our socks, all are undies and all emily's things in 3 of those space saver bags. As well as three care packages from 3 different families for their children. We also carried a backpack each and had the cameras, video camera, laptop, ipod, documents, food, magazines, handwipes, toothbrush, etc. One other great item I brought...the tide pen for getting out stains. Just used it this morning to get a rather large pen mark out of my white shirt..worked like a charm. And then we checked one 25" suitcase with the rest of our clothes and tolietries and luckily it made our connecting flight.

Off to get some back later today!

The first visit...

Our meeting went well at the MOE this morning and we received our referral for our little girl. We got to meet our daughter today!! She is just precious. What a cutie pie. She is very well cared for and very well loved. Our first impression is that she is not fond of strangers...she most certainly did not take to us as we did to her. But by the end she was doing better with us. She also seems to know what she wants...she is a little spitfire with her red hair and all. And I think she might like girly things. We brought her a little crown to wear and she wore it the entire time. Which makes us think that she is a little princess and she knows it! We can't wait to go back again tomorrow and see her. I've only been with her one day but already I know it's going to kill me to leave her here, even a short amount of time.

We also got to meet up with another couple from our agency here on their first trip. It was really great going out to dinner with them and sharing our stories of meeting our children.

This is a total side note but I've been thinking about what has been useful for our trip and wanted to share some ideas.

We are in a large city and I've noticed that a lot of people dress up. Black is very popular and everyone looks very stylish and trendy. Most women are wearing some type of black leather heeled boot and cute black wool jacket. Half of my clothing is I'm a little bit dreading wearing them and standing out quite so much. It's not that cold here, although it did rain and snow just a bit today.

Try to pack light and carry important items you want in your carryon..a few changes of clothes, electronics, all documents and the items you are using at the babyhouse. Most hotels offer laundry service so you can get by on a few outfits if your luggage gets lost. The other family with us did not get their luggage yet and one of the families that traveled before us also had their luggage lost. Carry a toothbrush and paste with you if you have long flights. Also carry travel tp and sanitizing wipes for your hands and hand lotion and chapstick. Other items that are handy...ziplock bags of various sizes, an umbrella, a calculator, security belt, crystal lite packages on the go (they can be added to your bottled water for a new drink), prepackaged snacks for late nite snack attacks. A peanut butter sandwich, apple and granola bar for the plane ride or layovers comes in nice. Back up batteries for camera, extra camera card or video camera tapes. A power strip to charge all electronic items and TSA locks for your suitcase and a bottle of bubbles for the visit. It is the one item that really saved us today with our little girl. She loved the bubbles and had a blast. She also liked the small ball we brought. Any child around the 9-15 month mark is probably teething...bring some kind of teether. Our child wants to chew on everything! Also plenty of pens as they wander away and a journal for notetaking. Lastly, buy a few bottles of water once through security on the last leg of your flight or before you leave the airport for your hotel in case you don't get another shot at stopping for water before the next morning. That's about it for now...hope that helps some!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

We are here!!

We are here in Russia!! It was a smooth flight. Coming down into our region I kept looking at the city below and thinking our daughter is down there somewhere. I took many aerial shots from the airplane of the city. We are not in California anymore. The landscape and archectiture is very different from home. The city celebrated it's 300 year birthday a few years ago. It is so rich with history! We made it through customs and picked up our luggage. Our driver was waiting for us and we got checked into our hotel very easily.

After a great night sleep we went down stairs and had a yummy buffet breakfast of blinis, eggs, cheese, breads, sausage and fruit. Now we are waiting to go the committee this morning and receive our referral and then off to meet our little girl!! It just started to snow this morning. It was clear yesterday. The view of the snow flurries hitting the city outside our window is beautiful!

I'll post again later! It's amazing to think we are up and ready to go and my family is sleeping on the other side of the world!

Made it to Frankfurt!!

We are almost there!! We have a 2 hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany so I thought I would pop in and say hi! We had a nice flight on Lufthansa airlines although I was unable to sleep on it..even after taking 2 sleeping pills! It was just a 10 hour flight. The plane was late boarding so they shaved an hour off our arrival. I just love it when they do that!! This is our first time to Frankfurt. Nice airport...easy to navigate, very modern. This is Lufthansa's hub so there are a ton of Lufthansa and United planes. I would definately recommend the airline...we had a very new 747, it was nice. We are just hanging out in one of the lounges here waiting for our connecting flights...hubby is watching soccer on the big screens while I blog. Since I didn't sleep, I'm dead tired and ready for a shower and a bed. It's 11am here...3am at home.

We miss our boys and hope they are doing well at home!!! We can't wait to get to Russia and meet our little girl tomorrow!! Our flight gets in later this evening and we probably won't get to our hotel until close to 9pm. And then we get up early Thurs morning, have breakfast and head out to MOE for our referral and then hopefully straight to the babyhome!

So until tomorrow everyone!

Auf Wiedersehen!

Monday, March 10, 2008

We are leaving on a Jet plane...TOMORROW!!

Where has the week gone?

I can't believe tomorrow we will be on our way to RUSSIA!!

Even more unbelievable, we are actually ready!

The kids' schedules, dogs' schedules and medical releases for both are done for my parents who will be taking over for us while we are gone. The laundry is done, the kids' backpacks are packed for the week, carpool schedules have been adjusted, house cleaned, i-pods loaded, paperwork, emerg numbers, itinerary, passports, visas, tickets, money all together...and we are packed! I just have a small grocery trip today for all the over the counter meds I want to take with me and I need something for dinner for tonight.

The only small thing left we hope to do is make a video of us for our kids so they can watch it while we are gone..if they are missing us. Of course, they probably will be too excited to be with the grandparents to miss us...but just incase.

I can't believe how close we finally are to meeting our little girl!! I wrapped a small present for her last night. It's her lovey bunny and photo album we want to leave with her. And I kept's finally happening..we are finally going to get to see her in person!

We got to meet our mentor family and their little girl yesterday. She is so cute. It was really fun watching her playing in our living room with the boys and imagining our Emily there playing too. Even hubby commented on how fun three were interacting together. Our mentor family came by to give us some last minute tips on our trip and brought us some small things to take with us. The visit sure made it feel so real! We are just so excited and can't wait to be there!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

On to more fun stuff!!

I got to talk with a family that traveled two weeks ago and she shared with me things to bring. And since Becky mentioned she wants ideas and I know we are all wanting ideas, here is what she suggested to bring.

For the weather right now...warm coat, mittens, hat and boots that can be worn in slushy, dirty snow. She said she never even wore her other shoes at all..just her boots everywhere. Leave the bulky sweaters home and bring a thin sweater and shirts. The babyhome was really hot and you want to take off layers as soon as you are inside. Also to carry hand sanitizer and tp when out even at the baby home in case there is none of these items in the bathroom. And bring of course camera, videocamera, pen and paper for info you receive about your child.

For the, cheerios, baby book and blanket you slept with to leave with your child. She also suggested shoes like soft soled robeez as it seemed at the babyhome she was at, it was an item that probably your child would get to use. Can bring clothes for your child but probably won't be used only on your child or get them returned in the end. She also brought lotion and chapstick that she used on her child while there since their skin looked dry and she had wished she had brought diaper cream, wipes and diapers for her child too.

So from that I will have to add a few things. is what I'm bringing to use at the babyhome.

I want to give her a wrapped present with our photo album and the lovey bunny that kept me company after many hard days of waiting for her. Both my boys have little blankee lovies that they still sleep with every night.

I will also bring a few soft board books, tiny cloth doll, nesting cups, small ball, bubbles and cheerios and maybe a banana. For clothes I have 2 different sizes I want to try on her... 6-12mo and 12-18mo. and a few sizes of shoes. I'm also bringing a piece of paper and pencil to trace her feet. I have diapers, wipes and diaper cream and now lotion.

I found a cute snow jacket, bib, hat and mittens for the second trip and my sling. Besides leaving the album, and lovey I want to leave a disposable camera and some note cards for her caregivers and ask if they might write a message to her.
I think that about somes it up.

The saga has ended and The 171-H is finally mine!

After an adventurous morning at USCIS and meeting the man who had been holding onto my file for the past 6 months I will have to sum up what I have learned from this experience...
Be persistent. Do not feel bad if you send a second letter before you have gotten a first response. Just keeping sending the letters. Everyweek if you have to. If you really need somthing get an appt and go down in person. Go down everyday to the office if you have to until they are sick of seeing you being polite and persistent. If you have to call your congressman or senator, do it. You are paying taxes, do not feel bad about it. Call on the phone 10x a day if need be. And above all..Do not take it personally, they sure are not. And learn from my biggest mistake.. out of sight really is out of mind. So make it a point to stay right in front.

I wish I had done this months ago because the truth of the matter is my file was just sitting on his desk with thousands of others, totally forgotten. And would still be sitting there untouched had I not gone down there today. It was easy to tell that they are swimming in files. Everywhere you look..there are files piled up. Each one contains some familes personal info and pages of documents. And behind each of those files is some poor family all waiting and waiting for a reply. Like me, probably checking their mailbox everyday for months on end.

It's just so ironic that I thought there was something wrong, My husband wasn't able to come today so my dad very graciously accompanied me as I really wanted a witness and protector. And Even after getting my appt today to come back and meet with him and worrying all night about that appt. The first thing the INS officer said when he called me in was ..."So, what is this about? What do you want?" What do you mean, what do I want? I want my 171-H. He still had no clue who I was. Didn't even bother to review my file before the appt between yesterday when he granted the other officer the go ahead to give me the appt. till that moment. I brought my copies and explained to him my file was completed with all the extra documents he requested from me back in December. He said give me 10 mins and I will go check. He returned 20 mins later with my file. "Yes, I was waiting on some requested documents and it looks like you did send them in. Your file is complete and I will send you the 171-H in the mail in a few weeks." I was just going to go away satisfied with that answer. No, no...I will wait here for them in person. I'm traveling to Russia in 7 days and I really need this paper. Let me see what I can do...another 30 mins passes before he returns. Come back at 1pm and you can pick it up. Unfortunately I could not come back myself because Tuesdays is my day to drive the carpool at my oldest son's school and stay at school with them all. I was already cutting it close to making it home in time, change clothes and head back out in my grubbies, pick up all the boys and head to the mtns for school. So my dad volunteered to come back and sit and wait to get called and check over the documents to make sure everything was correct. And he was successful because when I came home tonight..there it was waiting for me!! Thanks Dad!! You're the best! And thanks mom, you're the greatest too. For dropping everything today to come over and sit all day with the boys so I could sit over at USCIS all morning and then go on to school with BW. All of this worry...over one piece of paper!! The ups and downs of the rollercoaster ride to international adoption. Yet what a relief and what a weight that has been lifted from my chest!! I feel so much lighter and so ready now to really focus on the positive and happy stuff of adoption and get on that plane!

And thanks ladies for all your positive comments in my last post. I was really feeling in a bad place last night, very beat and tired too, and your comments gave me the energy to go for it today and get it done!! So thank you! This blog and meeting all of you has really been the greatest gift in helping me survive and stay sane on this adoption journey. Thank you! Thank you!

Monday, March 3, 2008

The elusive 171-H

Who would have thought that the hardest part so far of our adoption journey would be to obtain a one page form from our local USCIS deeming us fit to be a parent to a foreign born child. It seems that no matter where I turn I see others getting this paper so easily. How is it that 2 people born and raised here in the U.S, both attending 4 year universities, with no medical problems or criminal records. 2 people who own their own home, make a nice income, both employed, one as a teacher and one still earning an income but for all purposes a SAHM and have 2 children already have such a hard time getting this paper from the government saying we can raise a foreign born child. We have a favorable homestudy submitted on our behalf. The state of Ca agrees we are fit to be a parent to a foreign born child. We think we are pretty darn good parents already to two US born children. What is the problem? What is the hold up? It is such a joke. I just don't understand why I don't have this paper yet. According to their website everyone who submitted their application upto Sept 7th 2007 has their case completed. We are included in that date...our file should have been completed too! So frustrated!!

Today I spent the morning at my local congresswoman's office filling out paperwork so that they can make an inquiry in the next week as to why we haven't received this paper. I'm trying to have faith but the fact that they can only make an inquiry and not demand this paper for us, makes me a little nervous. Both of my adoption agencies told me to go to the local office and get the answers however I could. So this afternoon I got the last INFO PASS of the day and went back down to my local USCIS. The officer helping me was able to talk with the orphan adoption officer upstairs. He truly is the only man handling a larger portion of the bay area's adoption paperwork which makes no sense whatsoever. He was too busy to come downstairs and talk with me so I was able to make yet another appt for tomorrow morning and go back with hubby to meet with him and hopefully get that elusive piece of paper. I'm very nervous as to why we have to meet and that he couldn't just print out the paper and hand it to the officer I was speaking with. What on earth could be the deal? I already know our fingerprints came back clean, they checked in December and again what on earth is the holdup? If he doesn't give us that paper tomorrow I do not know what will happen. I only hope I came remain calm.

I have so much to do...only 7 days and counting and I want to be happy and so excited but at the sametime this is really stressing me out. And going away for another week without anyone working on this problem or having any conclusion is going to be difficult. Court seems to come so quickly after the first trip and we just can't have this one piece of paper screwing everything up!!

Thanks for letting me vent...I really needed that!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...