Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Getting ready to travel

Now that it's getting closer to our travel date (5 weeks and counting!), we are starting to dot the i's and cross the t's. For instance, today I spent 20 minutes on the internet researching the cheapest place to park our car for the 2 weeks we're gone. First, I debated if we should ask someone to drive us to the airport, or pay the exorbitant airport parking fees. Looking at flight times (6am departure, 11p arrival), I decided that we definitely need to drive ourselves. The next step was to research the various parking options. Should we stay at the airport hotel the night before the flight, and take advantage of the free parking? We would be close to the airport then for our early departure, but I never sleep well in hotel rooms, and we'll have two weeks of hotels. All these small things to consider. What should I wear on the plane? We were told to wear pants that do NOT have buttons or zippers; it will delay us in security. I guess I need to buy stretch pants for all of us. Ugh. Looking at the flight times, I realized that I should disperse the dogs and remaining children to their various temporary quarters the night before departure. Good to know. I spent another hour looking at various visa services. I can hire a visa service or drive to NYC myself to process the visas. It would save us a little money if I did it myself, but we have too much to do now!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New photos of BingHui

We just received updated photos of BingHui (Ben)! He's grown a ton, and is such a cutie. We are thrilled to have current pictures, although a weird background was superimposed. At least now we can see how he has grown!! The last photos we had were from when he was maybe 3 or 4 years old, and now he's 6. I pulled up a growth chart online, and it seems that Ben is well within the parameters of normal height and weight. We previously thought that he was on the small side. Of course, our whole family is small, so it wouldn't matter to us. It's just good to see that he has grown quite a bit this year. We also received an email and a telephone call telling us that we can apply for our Chinese Visa now. Our case-worker is guessing that we will travel early in March. That is what we've been using as our target date since we applied to adopt FengHong, and we are happy we are still on track. The hold-up with the I-800 hasn't put us too far behind schedule. Even if we receive our invitation to travel in early Feb., we won't travel until March because of the Chinese New Year. All the government offices will be closed for at least a week mid-Feb., and then there will be a back log of paperwork, not to mention crowded hotels. As is stands now, our tentative travel is March 5-19. We are saying our prayers everyday, knowing God will guide our family. Connor and I attend church almost daily, and the entire congregation is praying for us now too!


Jan. 12, 2010 there was a massive 7.0 earthquake in Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, and the island is absolutely devastated. I am, naturally, drawn to all the stories of the orphans. There were 10,000 children in orphanages in Haiti BEFORE the earthquake. After the earthquake, that number will probably double. I know a woman from Connor's Chess club who was in the process of adopting an orphan, a 12 year old boy, from Haiti. The future of that adoption is now in limbo because the government buildings and records were all destroyed in the earthquake. The situation just breaks my heart. I can't imagine how the family must feel. After all the paperwork, and all the waiting, and all the preparing for our new sons, if something like this happened in China just before we were supposed to travel to complete the adoption... How awful! From what the news says, the US government has granted emergency visas to 200 children who were already legally adopted by US citizens in Haiti, but they were waiting for their entry visa. In China, we will complete the adoption, and then apply for the visa at the consulate in Guangzhou a week later. Adoptions from Haiti require the adoption to be completed in Haiti, and then there is a few months lag-time for the visa to be issued. Children caught in that loop are the ones that the government is now flying to the US on an emergency basis. All the rest of the children just suffer. There is an enormous outpouring of Americans who have offered to adopt children who are "for sure" orphans (children who were already in an orphanage prior to the quake), but no one is allowed to accept applications for these children at the moment. There is simply too much chaos. All this reminds me of the Tsunami in the Philippines 5 or 6 years ago. I kept watching the coverage on TV, and that is when I began to say that we should adopt. I could not sit idly by and watch children suffer, when we have the resources to provide a good home for them. It seems as if we came full-circle somehow with Haiti now on the news everywhere. If we weren't already going to China soon, you can bet I'd be on a plane or with some volunteer organization trying to help the Haitian survivors.