Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fingerprint Fiasco

We received our notice to get fingerprinted by CIS (Citizenship and Immigration) which was fabulous news, as this was the last step in the I800A process. We went in early to get them done (and hopefully get approved  by next week). Tom did just fine, but mine were unreadable since they are so worn because I am touching paper all day and so I am spending the weekend with my hands slathered in lotion and wearing plastic gloves. I will go in on Tuesday morning and try again. If I get rejected again (chances are I will) then I will need to get a notarized letter from Olympia that says I am not a criminal. Now, I already have one of these for the is currently at the Chinese consulate somewhere on the east coast. So, I faxed in another request. Last time, it took a week, so regardless, I should be good by the end of next week. Unless of course, I need an RFE (request for evidence) on the 800A application. I was pissed off at first, but then took a deep breath, and prayed for the strength to accept that this is just one of many bumps in the road. It is not even something I can really share with others because they just do not understand the stress, the loopholes, the countless hours put into F$%^^&* filling out the paperwork just right, and frankly, I don't feel like trying to explain it.....even my husband didn't realize why I was so excited to get the FP appointment from USCIS. I am frustrated because this is the third time in three months I have been fingerprinted. Why can't CIS and FBI crosscheck each other's databases? WHY ASK, I take a deep breath, accept this, and pray for patiene. Because in the end, it is all about Henry. And I refuse to walk around with a heavy heart.

Wednesday we leave for Ft. Worth for training regarding older child adoption. How blessed are we that our agency requires this! It is going to be so tough for our little guy, but having the right tools to help him cope, to help the family cope, is very important.

I will write more Tuesday.....I am sure the CIS officer is going to THRILLED to see my face again....LOL When he saw we went early, he made the smart-ass response "you adoptive parents think you have all the rights"YEAH THAT"S EXACTLY WHAT WE WERE THINKING.......but we just smiled.....on the outside...

XOXOXOXOX to you all

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Small things....

So excited to get Noah and Leah's passports today. I feel so was not even an option to NOT travel with her...even if Henry had to wait. Well, that is no longer a worry of mine. So, we are now waiting for the final fingerprinting appointment from our government. I am hoping we get that this next week. Tom and I plan on going in early for fingerprinting....hoping to be approved by CIS by the end of April and DTC (dossier to China) May 15th. Tom and I have been looking at airfare, hotel costs, taking the kids to HK Disney...overwhelming...we are both blessed with great jobs (me with the same schedule as my kids...summers off) and are dedicated to making it work. We have FAITH that it will work out the way it needs to work out and have promised not to question when delays arrive. It is what it is...this adoption roller coaster. Looking forward to Texas in a week and a half.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I800A Receipt/Sad News

Well, it is a SMALL step...but a step toward Henry nonetheless. We received notice that the CIS received our packet of paperwork and it is now being processed.  The next notice we will get is to get the last set of fingerprints. My guess is that will happen next week or the week after. After the fingerprints come back OK (that takes a day) and the I800A paperwork is approved, we will be ready to send the dossier to China and then begin the OFFICIAL countdown to Henry. We are waiting to be LID (logged in) before sending anything to Henry, as it is well known to AP's that hiccups happen frequently with this last hurdle with US Immigration.

In two weeks, we leave for Texas to go to Gladney's Pathways Training. We are looking forward to it. This training will give us insight into the issues that arise when adopting an older child and how we can best help him through the grieving and anger issues.

In 5 weeks, we will be attending a memorial service in S. California for Tom's cousin, Brady, who suddenly passed away from cancer at the very young age of 36. Brady remained so strong and positive during his short battle, and we are shocked at his passing. Brady was always so kind to Noah and Leah. They remember him as being the "fun cousin" who played with them, watched movies with them, and made them laugh and laugh. We are so sad that Henry won't get the chance to know Brady. Life is so precious and unpredictable. Call your family and tell them you love them! Hug your kids! Your spouse! Your dog!
RIP Brady

Monday, March 12, 2012


Or in other words......we sent our  Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country in to Citizenship and Immigration today.

Our Social Worker got our HS written, approved and back to us in 9 days!!!!!! She was amazing. I need to do something nice for her. This is the last item we need to complete our dossier before we send it to China. It is also unpredictable as far as wait times.

 Some people have waited 90 days and others 26. Let's hope we are on the latter end of those wait times. We also sent a notarized original to the service who is preparing our dossier. Our hope is that she will have all of the paperwork authenticated and ready to go when we get the I800a approval. 

One step closer to Henry!


We got the great news this morning that CCCWA Pre Approved us for adopting Pin Pin! I feel like I can finally relax! Our Home Study has been approved and this week will we send off our I800A (Immigration) paperwork. We will then wait several weeks for a fingerprinting appointment and then seveal more weeks for approval. After ALL of that, our dossier will be complete and sent to China to be logged in. Whew! I started crying when I got the email...mostly out of relief. This is a great day!!

**Oh! The Seattle trip was a success. We applied for both kids' passports. The agent who helped us assured us we had everything we needed for Leah and to expect to see the passports in 4 weeks. Whew!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Passport Troubles = Road Trip

We took the kids out of school early to apply for their passports. They were so excited. Were. I forgot to put the SS# down and it was too late to run back home and get them. On top of that, the lady who works at the PO told me that I did not have the proper documentation for Leah. I freaked a little. Anyone who knows me, knows my attention to detail, and I was sure that I had everything I needed. We went home, and I called the US Dept. of State, only to be told something entirely different than what the gal at the PO said. After hanging up and fuming for about 15 minutes, I called BACK and was able to talk to someone who checked and double checked what is is we need to get this to happen. The hiccup is that Leah does not have a certificate of citizenship that proves she is a citizen. She has only the final adoption decree from the hearing a few weeks ago. Now, this should be enough. According to the law, this IS enough to prove her citizenship, but the people in charge of handling this do not seem to know this. I am beyond frustrated at this point. It just so happens that Saturday, March 10th, is National Passport Day. Of course, the regional office is in Seattle, but this is an opportunity to talk face to face with the people in charge of processing the passport. So, it looks like the Howard family will be taking a short road trip to Seattle tomorrow. I cannot take the chance of mailing it out from Spokane, and in 6 weeks, have everything returned because someone is confused to as what counts as proper documentation. So, we will go straight to the source. The good news is that we will be able to take the kids to Pikes Market and have a little fun.....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Our agency FINALLY uploaded our file to the CCCWA for Pre-Approval. They say it could take 7-10 days to show up in the database as approved. I know for a fact, though, that some families have had to wait a month to get PA. This is so difficult because until we get that PA, anything can happen. With Leah, we had completed all of the paperwork and were logged in to China's database. so when we found her, it went rather quickly and we met her only 3 months later. Doing it this way, "finding" a child first, before the homestudy and not being PA, in a word: stinks. People do know that we are adopting, and some even have seen pictures of Pin Pin, but having to keep this blog to myself until PA has been both torture and therapy to my "I won't believe it until I see it" attitude. Yes, I have faith, but I have to be realistic to a point as well. goes the first of a ton of waiting!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Leah gets readopted and the Home Study is complete!

Leah was readopted on February 24th. It was a very special event which means she will get a US birth certificate and most importantly, she is now a US citizen. We can now apply for her passport (and Noah's)so they can travel with us to meet their new little brother. We will do this next week.

Today was our last home study visit. Our social worker is a fast worker and efficient and will have the draft ready for Gladney's (our adoption agency) by the END OF THE WEEK!!! We could potentially mail off our I800a (Immigration paperwork for Pin Pin) in two weeks! After that, we have to wait several weeks to get a fingerprinting appointment. After that, we wait 6-8weeks for approval. After all of that, our dossier will be complete and can be sent to China to get logged in (LID), which is what we want to happen ASAP. The dossier is made up of 12 items (including home-study) that have to be certified or notarized and then authenticated. The gathering of this paperwork is what has taken over my life since January 1st. The following is what we need for a complete dossier:

1. Letter of Intent to Adopt (LOI)
2. Home Study Report
3. Certified Birth Certificates
4. Genera Phys. Exam letter
5. Financial Statement
6. Employment Letters
7. Certif. of Good Conduct
8. Immigration Approval
9. Passport Photos
10. Family Photographs
11. Certified marriage certificate (there is a snag with this one but it is being fixed)
12. Color copies of passports

The only items we need are the complete Home Study report and immigration approval. We have managed to get everything else in 4 weeks. The sooner we get the Dossier to China, the sooner we can get to our son.