Friday, July 13, 2018

A (Non-) Update

Currently our update is that we don't really have an update.

We're on day 52 of our wait for LOA/LSC (Letter of Approval/Letter Seeking Confirmation) which is our approval from China to adopt OUR son. The LSC is literally a letter China sends to our agency after they've approved us, then our agency sends it to us, and by signing it we are saying we confirm we want to adopt this child.

We're hoping for not more than about 2 more weeks of waiting but you just.never.know with China. A couple months ago LOAs were only taking forty-something days but now they're more between 60 and 70 and you'll occasionally see over 90 days.

Once we get our LOA we have a few more steps to complete and no, we don't know when we'll be going to China. Our best case scenario (which I think is pretty unlikely but a girl can dream) would be to be on the short end for all the remaining steps and leave for China at the end of September. October is more likely and November is a possibility if things are slow.

As you probably know we did a tshirt fundraiser through One Mission and we've been so humbled by everyone that has contributed and is helping us bring Cabot home. It's so amazing to have the support of family and friends (and some complete strangers)!


Monday, May 14, 2018

DTC!

We're DTC!

Are you asking, "Huh?"

Well let me tell you. DTC = Dossier To China. And it's kind of a big deal (in Ron Burgandy voice).

In fact it's such a big deal I made a meme.



This marks the end of our "paper chase." We gathered birth and marriage certificates, medical forms, psychological evaluations, verification of employment, financial statements, and our completed/approved home study. We had police reports ran, wrote an application letter, and included our I800a approval. Then we had ALL those documents notarized. Then we had the notarizations certified by the Secretary of State. Then we had the Secretary of State certifications certified by the United States Department of State. Then we had the state and national certifications authenticated by the Chinese Consulate in Washington D.C. Then all the documents went to our agency, they looked everything over, and FINALLY they sent it to China today. Finally. 

In about a week we'll receive a LID - Log-In Date. That's the day China logs in our dossier and we start counting days until we receive LSC - Letter Seeking Confirmation. The LSC means our dossier has been reviewed, approved, and they are asking us to confirm we want to adopt Cabot.  Currently the average wait from LID to LSC is about 2 months. And of course that's not the end. There are more steps and more waiting after that.

We're currently hoping to travel in September though I sadly have to acknowledge that it could be October. Either way, we're ALL so excited to bring Cab home. 



We're coming for you Cabot! You are so loved!




Thursday, March 22, 2018

I800A

We left off at the end of the last post with an approved home study (woohoo!). Next up we completed an I800A application and sent it in along with a copy of our completed home study (and a fat stack of cash...j/k, it was a check).



So what’s an I800A? It’s an Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. It’s basically asking the United States for permission to bring in an adopted child.

The process for this step goes:

1. Mail application, home study, and payment to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) Lockbox Facility in Texas

2. Receive notification that package was received (by text or email if you remember to include the form that allows them to text or email you...if not, you get a letter in the mail like we did)

3. Check is cashed and everything is packaged back up and mailed from Texas to the National Benefits Center (NBC) in Kansas (bureaucratic red tape...amiright?)

4. Receive notification that paper work was received in Kansas

5. Receive an appointment time to be fingerprinted at the local (Des Moines) USCIS field office

6. Once fingerprints have cleared, NBC will issue I800A approval


As of today we're waiting on our notification of receipt from NBC (Step 4).      

So that's our little update! Thank you all so much for the overwhelming support you've shown, it's truly so uplifting.

Oh, also...I was thinking about doing a Q&A. We get tons of questions about our adoption and we love answering them but thought it might be nice to do a Q&A to answer a bunch at once for anyone who's interested. So if you have any questions let me know (comment, message me, email me, text me, whatever)!


Friday, March 16, 2018

Adoption - The Beginning



Over the last several years I've semi-regulary sent Jeremy profiles of kids from a website called Rainbow Kids who are waiting to be adopted. I know it drove him crazy and he didn't want to adopt but I have ALWAYS wanted to adopt and something would just pull me to these kids. I figured it was always worth a shot so I'd send him pictures and heart eye emojis. Jeremy, bless his heart, would respond with something nice about how cute they were and never told me to just quit sending them already...though I'm sure that's what he wanted to say.

In the fall of 2017 I was on a kick and sending Jeremy pictures of waiting children every few days. We would occasionally talk about adoption and he started asking more questions. He had practical concerns...paying for MORE daycare...paying for adoption...parenting three kids - two with special needs (basically ALL kids adopted from China now have special needs).

One evening we were sitting at soccer practice and talking about how we could make it work and it just clicked. Like, "Ok, I guess this is happening now." Jeremy will tell you there were actual rational reasons for this...maybe we'll go into that later.

We had our eye on a sweet little girl with cerebral palsy and we requested her file from Heartsent Adoptions, Inc. We also applied with them at the same time. It turned out that child had more complex needs than we were able to handle but we knew there would be a child that was right for us.

We had seen a little boy around the same time on Rainbow Kids and tried to get information on him but the agency listed didn't have his file any longer. Heartsent couldn't find him either. We were bummed but again, knew whatever was meant to happen would happen.

A few days later I spotted his picture on the Great Wall China Adoptions waiting children site. I emailed for more information and received a response super quick that they had his file! Another family was also reviewing it but they sent it to us as well. We instantly felt like he was "ours." We had a doctor who specializes in international adoption review his file to look for any issues or medical needs that might not be listed in his file. She determined he looked healthy and while he was listed as being premature his weight when he was found at one month of age was over 10 pounds indicating he likely wasn't premature (or his estimated age/birth date was wrong). Overall he was healthy with possible cerebral palsy and we decided he felt like he would fit perfectly in our family.

Our Letter of Intent to adopt him was sent to China on 11/13/17 and we were pre-approved on 11/20/17!

Next up...the paper chase.We gathered ALL the documents, had things notarized, had physicals and tried to stay organized. Once we had everything together we were assigned a case worker and scheduled our first home study visit. We had to wait on one more document before we could schedule our second visit and finally had that on 2/16/18. Holt sent our home study to our agency for review. It was ultimately approved on 2/22/18.

I wanted to keep track of this process for myself but decided to share it as well in case anyone wants to follow along on this journey!

More to come!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The 'V' Word

Recently I convinced Jeremy to watch Forks Over Knives. If you haven't heard of it, it's a documentary where researchers explore the possibility that people changing their diets from animal-based to plant-based can help eliminate or control diseases like cancer and diabetes.

I had already watched some of it and found it pretty intriguing so I asked Jeremy to watch it with me. Generally speaking my husband is not into my crazy schemes...like doing Whole30. Or becoming vegan. However, before the movie was even over he was on his laptop doing more research. Something struck a chord with him and he was genuinely interested in exploring a whole food, plant-based diet.

Whole food, plant-based diet. That's what they call it in Forks Over Knives but essentially it means veganism. Vegan is easier to say but usually evokes thoughts of snarky hippie-types who get all over your case about have a string cheese. [This is obviously a complete stereotype]

Image result for vegan guy

So Jeremy gets on Pinterest and starts a SECRET board with vegan recipes. Except at this point he won't actually SAY the word "vegan." Apparently it's his perception that being vegan is demasculinizing. Let's put that to rest right now. This guy is a vegan:

Image result for brad pitt

 Moving on.

So we watched this documentary and we're both interested in trying this plant-based business.  Why? Well I'm going to speak only for myself here. Number one - health. Forks Over Knives present some pretty compelling information about how things that are abundant in the typical American diet - casein (milk protein) and meat - may be contributing to cancer and heart disease among other things. This is the statistic that got me: Out of a group of people who had a previous heart attack and then switched to a vegan diet, the people who stuck with the whole food, plant-based diet had a 0.6% chance of having a second heart attack. The people who switched back to the typical American diet had a 62% chance of having a second heart attack.*

Now let's pause for a second. I'm not going to get into causation versus correlation, sample size, or any other of a myriad of things to be considered when looking at research. I'm currently reading The China Study which dives into the science more. I also plan to take a closer look at some criticism of Forks Over Knives. All this is to say, do your own research. But I would highly recommend starting with the documentary. Because in my opinion, spending an hour and a half of your time to watch it is certainly worth the potential benefits such as decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.

Is anyone wondering why I'm telling you all this? Well first I kind of just want to share the information. I think there's great potential to make people I know healthier. I'm also considering doing some regular posts about recipes we try and what we eat. While I've found several vegan bloggers and YouTube channels, I'm finding mostly young people without kids. That's not our family. We both work full time, have two 5-year olds, and juggle activities. So I need easy and quick meals and I need my kids to actually eat them.

I'd love you all to join me on this soiree into a plant-based diet. If you're vegan - tell me about it! Tried it and didn't like it - tell me about it! Thought about trying it - tell  me about it!

Peace, Love, and Plant-Based Protein!
[sorry, that's so corny but I couldn't help it]

*It's been a hot minute since I watched FOK so these numbers might not be exact but they're close.  When I get a sec to pull up the movie and verify I'll update this if needed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Bathroom Makeover

We've been in our house over a year now and we may be nearing completion on updating the bathroom. Maybe.

Here's what she looked like when we moved in...





In all her oak-cabinet-linoleum-floor-glory.

And here she is now...







We may have painted it twice.  Ok, we did.  I should NEVER be allowed to choose blue paint because I NEVER like it. So we switched to a super dark charcoal gray.

We put in a new toilet, took out the mirror that was held up by plastic clips and added medicine cabinets (which was GREAT for more storage), added shelves above the toilet (some storage but mostly decorative...sorry, honey), We put in a new tile floor, a new window (we're hoping to slowly change out all the windows in the house to newer more energy efficient ones) and updated the trim. Obvi, we painted the vanity and changed out the hardware.

We also changed to a sliding barn door.  I LOVE barn doors BUT this was actually a practical matter.  The door opened in to the bathroom and honestly it took up valuable real estate.





Jeremy MADE the actual door itself because DANG those things are expensive to buy.  The hardware can be pretty pricey too but I found a decent priced set on Amazon.


So adding a barn door on the outside opened up the wall that was behind the door...where...we...put...SHIPLAP!




Ok, it's faux shiplap but whatevs. Joanna Gaines would still  be proud I just know it.

We put towel hooks up for everyone and the kids have little mirrors that are the perfect height for them. If you look closely you can also see their step stools hung up towards the bottom under their towels. Or you can see Ben's at least...

I'd love a marble counter top with undermount sinks and a tiled shower but those are pretty far down on my list right now.

Because I like Before And After pics...



Thanks for checking out my bathroom makeover!


 


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Repurposed Towel Bar --> TIE RACK!

Yesterday I talked about how I added a little more function and organization to our bathroom.  I forgot to mention that I reused that Ikea towel bar...



While Jeremy has a nice spinning tie rack that attaches to a closet rail, we don't have as much closet space in our new house so he couldn't use it.  All his ties were shoved in a dresser drawer (a dresser that we got rid of for the office makeover...more to come on that).  So this Ikea towel holder provided a super awesome way to store his ties so they stay neat and they are easy to see.  It fits right behind the door and beside his closet just perfect!

Do I get to say I created an "Ikea hack" now? ;)