Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas Avery Lin!!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas. We certainly did. We have celebrated 3 Christmas's so far, our own(Gary & myself), The Scofield's and the Newton's. Boy!! did Avery make out really well, she's not even here yet but she was thought of.

Mommy & Daddy (Mama & Baba) got her books, clothes(12months and up) a Asian looking shirt and dress, a winter hat w/ a pom pom on top, a Christmas tee w/ little asian girls on it, a purple dress, a zip up pink sweatshirt, a pretty onesie, and a ladybug onesie, ladybug socks, ladybug pj's, and little cat pj's. All the sizes are bigger and the prices were cheap-had to do it!! She also got some learning toys from Mommy & Daddy ones that we can take with us to China, ones that pack well. She got her rocking panda, and an oversized soft stacking rings toy(I love this one), we'll put up a picture of this pile of presents.

I got Gary a book called Daddy hugs, and another book if you open it one way it says Mama, if you open it the other way it says Papa. Gary got me 2 willow tree angels, one with the mother holding the baby, and one with the couple holding their baby. I also got a cd of adoption songs, and a cd of Chinese lullabies. The guidebook to start her life book. Gary got buddhas, chinese fortune sticks, and Gary got me little panda finger puppets, the pandas have little asian shirts on-very cute.

At the Scofield family Christmas Grandma Margaret (Lao Lao) and Grandpa John (Lao Ye) got her a soft ladybug learning toy, it's really neat it's like a back pack that open up and has a story book and a mirror in it. Grandma & Grandpa Scofield also got her her first Teddy Bear. Cousins Jessica & Jodi got her a lady bug bank, and put some money in it for her, and an angel ornament. Aunt Liz made a reversible diaper tote, it has ladybugs in pink on one side, and ladybugs in green on the other, it's pretty cool. Aunt Liz, Uncle Tom, Jessica & Jodi made a tied fleece blanket for all of us to enjoy, it's really warm. We'll put up a picture of this pile too.

Then at the Newton Christmas Avery made herself known. Right before we started opening gifts a lady bug flew into the room and Beth put her on the Christmas tree. Weird how that keeps happening. Grandma Judy (Nai Nai) and Grandpa Ron (Ye Ye) gave her a beautiful pink blanket that Grandma Judy crocheted, she also got a neat ladybug board book, and the three of us got a Chinese Santa that Grandma Judy painted. Uncle Steve and Aunt Beth and cousins Noah & Owen got Avery her own stocking, with her name on it, and it was filled with things for her; books, a little cup, little pink and purple striped socks, chinese bracelets, and the 2007 coin collection from the Mint. They also got her a plate to match her cup, which also matches the stocking, it has a dancer on skates on it, and more books to read to her, a little chinese tea set, that I think Uncle Steve got when he went to China for work a couple years ago. Steve and Beth also got us some really nice luggage to take when we go to China, it's red and it's big and sturdy exactly what we need. We'll put a picture up of all of this too.

So for not being here yet she sure was thought of a lot. We appreciate everyone thinking of her at our 1st Christmas in the adoption process.

We think she may be 2 months conceived that's our guess anyway. We are hoping that China will speed up in January before they slow down for the Olympics. But then we hope they speed up after the Olympics. We hope by next Christmas we will be really close to holding her.

We've received some more quilt squares, Gary needs to take the pictures still.

Also, we are asking people to do a second square if they want to. We are still waiting on some and are going to actually send out the postcards in January as reminders.

Hope you all had a nice Christmas filled with family and love.

Love to you all,

Alli & Gary

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

China Christmas Tree

Here are a couple pictures of our China Tree.

You can see the lady bugs, and the mini take out boxes that have the chinese charcters for double happiness, Avery's name, and all of the other red and gold ornaments, and her rocking panda...waiting for her.

Tell us what you think!!!

Merry Christmas-Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan!!

~Alli & Gary

Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan or Merry Christmas!!

Wow, that's a mouthful-Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan!! Would be hard to fit that on a card. That's probably why the chinese characters are used instead.

Well, our China tree is done. I want Gary to take a picture...we're getting around to it. It's really neat. It has mini red chinese take out boxes on it that have gold chinese characters for double happiness on them, along with plain red mini take out boxes. There are lady bugs and a couple of ornaments that have chinese writing on them. There are 2 ornaments that say MaMa and BaBa written in chinese, and her name is on the tree. A lady bug just flew onto the computer screen as I said that-WEIRD!! There are red and gold stars and red and gold ornaments, red ribbons going down on the sides(red thread-get it), and a star on top that is red on one side and gold on the other. It's really neat...we like it a lot!! If you're around please stop by and see our tree!!

We also have bought Avery a few things for Christmas, the big thing is a rocking panda. Not a rocking horse...a panda!!! Fitting I thought. I was going to hide it and put it under the tree on Christmas morning to surprise Gary, but I I was so excited about it I couldn't hold it in any longer, and told him. Good thing I did because it had to be put together. He's better at that than I am. It looks cute next to the China tree. We'll put a picture of that up here too.

We have a few other things for her, we'll talk about those after Christmas. We still haven't started putting our Christmas cards together yet. We are way behind on that this year...this weekend hopefully.

We wish you all a Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan-Merry Christmas!!!

The pictures should be coming soon!!!

Love to all,
~Alli & Gary

Monday, December 3, 2007

We are now 5 months!!!!

So, today is December 3rd, so we are now 5 months into our wait. We've been extremely busy with the Christmas Show, but now that's over and went really well, so we are back on the normal schedule.

We put up our trees yesterday, one is going to be Chinese inspired, when it's done I'm sure Gary will put a picture up here to show everybody.

We have a new addition to the family, our new kitten Koko, short for Kokopelli. She is 8-9 weeks old, and a lot of fun!!! She's from Indiana. We brought her back with us from visiting my brother and his family over Thanksgiving.

I am planning on sending out the postcards this week, now that things have calmed down. If anyone would like to do another wish for Avery and another piece of fabric, please feel free. We've had a lot of people who have asked and want to do another one, so please do.

I guess that's all for now, we are buying Avery Christmas clothes, toys, and such, and my list had all things for her on it. I can't wait until we get into double digits on our wait time!!!!

Talk again soon!!!!
Alli & Gary

Friday, November 9, 2007

We have the brown envelope!!!

I was at rehearsal last night and when Gary showed up he handed me this envelope. I thought it was something from the IRS or whatever. I was talking to my Senior Company about their upcoming Christmas show. I took the envelope and then read the front and the word "adoption" caught my eye and then it all sank in, and I totally freaked out. The girls thought I was nuts. I yelled," the brown envelope!!!" The girls had no idea what we were excited about but when they found out they were just as excited as we were.

All the girls huddled around us and I read the letters inside out loud. It was really nice to see their reactions and see that they were so excited for us. I love my girls that I teach, they are just like family to Gary and myself. We've always said that we have about 200+ children. They call us both Mama & Papa Bear. It was nice to share that moment with them. The girls are constantly asking me how the adoption is going and all sorts of questions about her and her room etc. I had a solo class with one of my students just this week and I've had this student in classes since she was 3 years old and she is 12 now. She was asking about the adoption and wanted to know everything, it was nice how interested she was and excited she was for Gary and myself. Love my girls!!!

The brown envelope is from the the foreign service of the USA, US Consulate General Guangzhou, ( the envelope came from Washington D.C.). The documents inside are from Guangzhou, China though. It does say "official business" on the front of the envelope. It really just means that all the parties and agencies involved in the adoption have been officially notified and you are still WAITING!!!!!!!!!!!

Now we are just waiting for the referral from the CCAA (China Center of Adoption Affairs). We do have a case number now. I just looked at the date on the paperwork inside and the letters were dated August 31, 2007 from China, and we are just getting them now. Now you can see why the wait is so long, it takes a little while to get things through the proper channels and then back to us. So, we're STILL WAITING!!!!

But, we're excited!!! Another thing to check off our list. We have a dry erase board in our office with a checklist and the only thing up there was the brown envelope. Now we replace that with a referral. We also need to get our vaccinations and such. But another step forward to Avery...YEA!!!!!!!!!!

Cheer for us!!!
Love to all
~Alli & Gary

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Information about Nat'l Adoption Month

Some history...

In 1976 Massachuttes Govenor Michael Dukakis celebrated an Adoption Week and it caught on that eventually later that year President Gerald Ford announced a National Adoption Week.

In 1990 it went from National Adoption Week to National Adoption Month. There is usually 1 day in November that is considered National Adoption Day. On National Adoption Day courthouses throughout the nation participate in finalizing 100's of adoptions simultaneously.

From what I could find National Adoption Day around here is November 16th.

There are certain tasks and calendars for National Adoption Month. Things you can do to help create awareness for all the children that need families. I posted a sign in my studio about adoption and all the benefits, letting everyone know about November being National Adoption Month. Gary was going to take the sign into the Air Brake also.

Here is a poem that was posted on one of the sites that had information about National Adoption Month. It fits us well...

The Rising Moon

As the moon begins to rise
I catch a glimpse of almond eyes
Staring back from outer space
The moon reflects your loving face.

My heart begins to yearn for you
A love down deep that grows so true
I see the moon throughout the night
My dreams of you are taking flight.

So when you look upon the moon
Please know that we will be there soon
I pray reflected in its light
Will be our love for you this night.

The moon must now complete its course
Let’s not regret and show remorse
It soon will rise and start anew
Reflecting love meant just for you.

~Tom Fisher

There are others and we will post them as we go.

~Alli & Gary

4 months and waiting...

We are now 4 months into our "official wait". Hopefully the next 2 months will seem to go quicker because of the holidays and our Christmas Show on the 1st of December. We'll be really busy for the next month getting the companies ready for their show. Hopefully we'll be so busy that before we know it it will be Christmas.

Happy 4 Month Anniversary to us!!!

We will be sending out the reminder postcards about Avery's quilt within the next week.

Avery's closet has got some clothes in it, and Mommy just bought her 6 more things at Old Navy this week, it was a really good sale and I couldn't resist!!!!!

Love to all~

~Alli & Gary

Thursday, November 1, 2007

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month!!!!

I didn't think anyone really knew about it. We will try to post some things to do for National Adoption Month.
Our 4 month waiting anniversary is coming up on the 3rd. We're getting there! Slowly but surely!!

Abby~Would love for you to do a square for Avery!

Love to all,
~Alli & Gary

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sending out postcards...

Hello there~

Just a note to those who haven't responded to our invitation to be a part of Avery Lin's quilt. We will be sending out reminder postcards. We have over 65 quilt squares and 56 pages for Avery's scrapbook so far, we would like to have the full 100 quilt squares. We sent out over 90 invitations to family and friends. We will also be sending out a second wave of the original invites to people who have heard about the quilt and have shown a lot of interest.

If you do not send a quilt piece after the reminder we will assume you do not wish to participate.

Again, remember this quilt will be for our daughter from China, Avery. Even though our wait is long we would like to get her quilt started. We are planning to adopt again from China after we get Avery. So, we will be doing this again for her sister. If you do not know what to do please go to the connecting blog site here called Avery's Quilt.

We understand everyone's schedules are hectic and busy, and it takes time to pick out the fabric and put your thoughts together. We would like to start looking at patterns and start to figure out how to put her quilt together. So if you still wish to participate please send your quilt piece and your wish and your scrap piece, you do not need to do a scrapbook page. Alli can do that for you, just send the fabric (8x8 & scrap piece) and your wish.

Alli & Gary

Monday, October 22, 2007

NYC Trip to China Town

Two weekends ago Gary and I went to NYC for a costume preview show for my work and while that was in NJ we went to NYC on Friday and Saturday and spent some time in China Town and Times Square.

We bought Avery a huge panda bear from the Toys R' Us in Times Square, I thought maybe this would kick start us on the renovations to her room. We also spent the day in China Town and Little Italy area. I kept trying to find Chinese souvenirs but in all the shops in China Town, it was all I Love NY stuff and fake Gucci purses and Chanel sunglasses. We also met up with some of our former dance students, some are going to school in NYC and some are working in NYC.

Alex is a student at NYU, Megan is a student at FIT and Shauna is working for a firm in NY and Ashleigh was visiting Shauna. So, we took them all out dinner at Lombardi's in Little Italy...GREAT PIZZA!!!!! As we were catching up with everyone I told them about my searching for Chinese stuff and not finding any, and they had the solution. Megan and Alex took us to a place called the Pearl River Marketplace in China Town. It was 3 floors of everything Chinese. It was great!!!! We bought Avery lanterns for her room, and a lamp for her room. A really sweet Chinese parasol mobile, and 5 children's books and much more.
We absolutely loved this place. Thank you girls!!!!

We also bought a Chinese fan, and the red envelopes for the Chinese New Year, and some small buddhas at some other places throughout the day, and a Chinese outfit so I can frame the shirt for her wall.

We had a really good time and needed the get away!!!!

Love to all~

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Met some more waiting families...

We went to a function hosted by our adoption agency, New Life, yesterday in Liverpool. It was for waiting families and there were about 5 families there. Also, most of the New Life staff was there. There were 2 families that their DTC was a 2006 date and hopefully will travel soon. They also told us that a bunch of other families from the agency were traveling to China this week to pick up their children...exciting!!

There was another couple there and their DTC was February 2007, so they are only 4-5 months ahead us. They were really nice and you could feel the comraderie with everyone in the room...the waiting thing is just HARD!!!! Nobody was there from our group, a little disappointing because I was looking foward to meeting who we might be traveling with.

There was another couple there and they are going to adopt their 2nd child from China. They brought their little girl, Catherine with them. She was adorable and they had just come from dance class. She takes ballet and tap and she is 3 1/2. She was very cute!!!! Her mother was so nice and forthcoming with information and her husband was the same way.

We saw our adoption agent, Vicki, and met the other people we get e mails from all the time. Lashonna, and Pat were there and it was really great to meet them. I will say that everyone that works at New Life seems to be just as friendly and helpful as can be...and very understanding!! We also met another one of the social workers, and traded NYC stories with her and Vicki.

Lashonna the post placemnet person at New Life, said she had heard that China might speed things up at the first of the year to get more families traveling, and then it will slow down because of the Olympics. Everybody seems to think the wait is so long now due to the Olympics and all the renovations going on in China right now. It would be great if they did try to speed things up at the first of the year so more families ahead of us would travel sooner. But again, it's just hear say and nothing to get excited about...yet.

We got there about 11:00AM and stayed until 12:30, we didn't expect that we would stay to the end. We are really looking forward to the Chinese New Year Celebration in January. We have heard from a lot of people that it is a blast and there are about 300 children there for that.

It is so nice to be around other waiting families. There are certain things you need to ask and talk about and other people really don't know or want to listen sometimes, they just see it as so far away. But with us we live with the wait every day and every night. You want people to ask how you are doing just like they would if you were actually physically pregnant. There is more of a mental difficulty with adoption than I think most people understand. So it's nice to know that the feelings you feel are valid and alright to feel.

After, we went to Babies R' Us and bought Avery a panda bear rattle. It's cute!!!

I will put up another post soon about our trip to China Town in NYC last weekend. I'm a little out of order here.

Love to everyone~
Alli & Gary

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Some Chinese words...

Here are some Chinese words for family members, thought you'd like to know.

Mom (Alli)- Ma ma
Dad/Father (Gary)- Ba ba
Grandma (Margaret)- Lao Lao
Grandma (Judy)- Nai Nai
Grandpa (John)- Lao Ye
Grandpa (Ron)- Ye ye
Great Grandma (Dorothy & Viola)- Lao nai nai
Great Grandpa (Lew)- Lao ye ye
Aunt/Auntie (Liz & Beth and others)- a yi
Uncle (Tom, Johnny, Steve and others)- Shu shu
Cousin (Jess, Jodi, Noah, Owen, and others)- biao qin

There are a ton of different words dependent on who's Mother, who's father and so on. These are the ones I've figured out so far. I think Gary and I have the easiest with Ma ma and Ba ba.


Love to everyone~
~Alli & Gary

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Happy 3 Month official wait to us...

It's now been officially 3 months into our wait to get Avery. It doesn't seem like the time is going by quick enough. I thought maybe when we got back into our usual swing of things time would go quicker or at least "seem" to go faster. But I think because we are so anxious, she is in our thoughts every minute of the day. It's really tough to be in this situation, waiting to become parents. Some days are bluer than others, but I do know this journey that we are on is leading us to a more fulfilled life and tons more laughter, and brighter days.

We find ourselves daydreaming about her and how much she will change our lives, we are so ready for that. Being that we are in our mid 30's and just becoming parents and having to wait so long for it I know we will appreciate each and every day and every moment. The good and the bad, the tough and and the trying with more love than we could ever imagine.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers,

Love to you all~
~Alli & Gary

Saturday, September 29, 2007

New wishes added on the Quilt Blog

Finally had the time to get the latest wishes for Avery posted! Six more wishes were added. Go check 'em out!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Our 1st Mid-Autumn Moon Festival Dinner

We went to our first Moon Festival Dinner yesterday evening in Watertown at the China Buffet. I was really nervous because the only people we knew were the one family we just met a couple of weeks ago and the other I only emailed saying we would attend the dinner. You know me I'm quiet around people I don't know and have the tendency to only talk when questioned. But we felt we should go and meet people that have been through what we are doing and could give us some insight and hope and see that there is an outcome that is so worth the wait.

We arrived on time and actually at the same time as the family we knew. So Kelly took us in and started to introduce us to different people. They were so nice and inviting, and had us sit right down at their table and made us feel very comfortable right off. There were so many children there, many dressed in Chinese dresses and outfits they were all very adorable.

As soon as we entered and Kelly introduced us some people knew Judy (the cake lady) and that started up the conversations also. Some people recognized me from working at SJ with the Dance Company, there are a lot of teachers at SJ that have adopted from China (there are 3 that I know of). They all asked about our DTC and LID dates, I was so overwhelmed I had to ask Gary what our LID date was, I knew it, it is ingrained in my mind but I was nervous and couldn't think of it (what a dope).

They asked what agency and we were through and how long the wait was now (18-22 months now). A lot of them said their wait was 12 months when they went and could really understand the frustrations Gary and I feel all the time.

They all had stories about their travels to China and some of them had traveled together and some have met through get togethers. I asked how the children were physically when they received them and how the orphanages were and they all had positive things to say. They gave us great travel tips and what to not do in China and told us where they went while they were there. They all said how well taken care of the children were in the orphanages, and even though the orphanages look way under staffed you could tell the women there took really good care of the babies.

I asked how far in advance of going to China they started setting up their nurseries. The one great piece of advice given was, "whenever you are ready to do so". They all said it is like you are pregnant for 18-22 months, and you have to do that stuff because it helps the time go quicker and they said, "we're giving you permission to shop for her and to do all the stuff you want to do". That made me feel GREAT!!!!

I get looks from people when I pick something up for Avery. Some people think it's weird we call her by name even though we haven't met her yet. When I talk about the nursery or anything like that sometimes I get the look like, "why are you doing this now, you aren't going to get her for another 16 months". I get so frustrated with people, and it was great to be with other Moms and Dads that know what I am talking about, and REALLY understand.

Watching the children yesterday was great. There were babies and toddlers and I think the oldest was 9. What a future we have to look forward to. They were all so beautiful!!

I am so glad we went, we were the only family there in the waiting process, but we met some really great people and made some great friends.

The next get together for this group is the Chinese New Year in January. But a lot of the Moms said to call them or email them if we have questions or if we just want to talk. What a nice group of people they all were.

Our next function is with our adoption agency in October to meet the other waiting families. We are looking forward to that also.

Keep an eye out on the 26th of September and look at the moon- that's when it's supposed to be the fullest.

My fortune at the end of the Moon Festival Dinner from my fortune cookie was this...
"Time heals most everything...Give it time, time". Everyone at the table and Gary and I all thought it was appropriate.

Love to everyone~
Alli & Gary

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just an update

We are in the process of putting up the new quilt wishes, we received 3 yesterday. They have kinda calmed down a bit but there is still a lot of people we haven't heard from, some family and some friends. So if you are reading this and thought you couldn't send it still can. We need 100 squares for her quilt remember.

The scrapbook is getting big and I can tell it will be something that Avery will look at over and over again. All the different colors and everybody's personal touches and styles, it is beautiful!!

We are going to our first Moon Festival Dinner this Sunday. We were invited from other parents who have already adopted from China. We are very excited and I need to write down all of my questions. We have also been invited to a Kite Festival and our adoption agency is having a get together for waiting families so we can all meet eachother. It will be great to meet other families that have been through all of this and also other families who are waiting like us.

We are 2 1/2 months into the official wait!!! Yahoo!!

That's the update, keep sending your wishes and don't forget to leave comments here or on Avery's quilt blog!!!

Love to all~
Alli & Gary

Sunday, September 9, 2007

5 more wishes! We're up to 50 pages!

Another batch of wishes have been added to Avery's Quilt blog- go have a look! We now have 50 pages in Avery's scrapbook. We are debating if we are going to add a second book/"volume" because this one is getting pretty thick. :^)

If yo would like to leave a comment on any of the wishes or blog postings please do so! We love to hear back from you!

Keep the wishes coming!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

11 more wishes added to Avery's Quilt blog!

We finally had a chance to get somewhat caught up getting the wishes posted. Thank you all for sending them in- we love them all!

Besides the 11 posted tonight, we know of at least 3 more that will be going up tomorrow or the day after, so keep checking back!

Don't be afraid to comment and let us know what you think. We love to get comments too! Feel free to leave comments on the quilt blog as well!

Monday, September 3, 2007

We're behind on our wishes...SORRY!!

Just letting everyone know that we do have about 11 more wishes to post for Avery's quilt but it's been so busy the last week that we are behind. They should be up in the next few days. We've had family up the last few days (Alli's brother Tom, Our Sister in law Liz, and our 2 nieces Jessica & Jodi). We've been to the fair and down to the cottage, and Gary and I have been kayaking a lot lately. But today makes it official. We have been officially waiting 2 months for Avery (our LID was 7/3/07 and today is 9/3/07) and that seemed hopefully the next few months will fly also. Here's crossing our fingers!!

Keep the wishes and the squares coming, we would like to start looking at patterns for the quilt and we hope all who were invited to participate will send their quilt squares to us along with their wishes for Avery. We love receiving them and our first set of pages in the book are full and we will need to add more already! We've had such positive feedback about the quilt and the wishes ...we are so happy for that!

While we were at the NY State Fair we had some "signs" again. While we were in the coliseum a family came up and sat across from us, they were an American Mom & Dad with 2 Asian daughters. We were explaining to our niece Jodi that that was what Avery was going to look like(Jodi is 5 almost 6). It gave us a glimpse into our family in a couple years of having 2 beautiful Asian daughters!!(Yes, we are going to do this again)

Then, while our niece Jodi was riding the merry go round at the fair another couple was standing next to us and they had an Asian son. Not very old probably 10-12 months old. He was adorable. It looked like they hadn't been back very long from their trip. Gary wanted me to go up and ask them about it but I wasn't quite sure how to start that conversation. But it was fun to watch them and watch his reaction to the ride. He was a very content and happy little guy.

So that's been our week, we'll post the wishes soon!!! Hope everyone had a great holiday and hope everyone has a great school year!!

Love to everyone,
Alli & Gary

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Avery has a Star!

When we were in Cape Cod a couple weeks ago, we bought a stuffed panda for Avery. It was one of the "Shining Stars" stuffed animals that allow you to name a star that gets logged in the International Star Registry. Her star is in the Cassiopia constellation, which is the large "W" shaped formation to the right of the big dipper. her star is above and slightly to the left of the center peak of the "W". We picked the dedication date of 7/3/07 because that was the day we officially started our wait for her- it was our LID. Above is a screen shot from the Shining Stars site. Click on the image for a larger view.

Wishes 29 thru 34 added!

6 more wishes have been added to Avery's Quilt blog. Go give them a look! It has been great getting all the wishes for Avery- we've been getting a few every day for the last week.

A few people have been asking if it is too late to send in squares and wishes. By all means, NO! It's not too late!! Please keep them coming! We set the first date for the end of August so we would have some material to start the quilt with. We are hoping to start work on it in the next few weeks, and we would love all the help we can get. If you can sew (or not) and would like to help in making this special gift for Avery, just let us know. We'll be posting more details soon. Keep checking the blogs!

Thank you all again for the wishes and words of encouragement through this long wait. It was a real nice surprise to find out the other day that we are already officially 2 months into our wait to get Avery!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

We are LID!!!!!!

We are finally LID. This is our date that we are in the pile and our dossier is waiting to be matched up with a child. How exciting!!!!! Our official LID date was July 3rd. But we just found out today.

The adoption agency actually sent us an email back on August 16th but for some reason we didn't receive it. As I was emailing people about lessons today I sent an email to our adoption agent wondering about our log in date. It was supposed to take 4-6 weeks from our DTC(6/29/07) and we were coming up on 8 weeks, it didn't seem right. But in actuality it only took 4 days to log us in because our official date from China was 7/3/07. But as I said we didn't get the email until today about it. We are very excited and now we wait for the brown envelope. It takes about 3-6 months to get the brown envelope, and we have to guard this with our lives!!!

The quilt wishes are coming in everyday. Some days we get 5-8 or more. We are over 30 wishes and are anxious to get the rest. So please keep working on them and send them in. It's a lot of fun to see what everyone has picked and what their wishes for Avery are.

Please keep us in your prayers and Avery and that we may meet her sooner than later.

Love to everyone and BIG THANK YOUS!!!

~Alli & Gary

Monday, August 27, 2007

5 more wishes! Wahoo!!

Five more wishes posted on Avery's Quilt blog! Go check 'em out! We have 4 more "in progress" that should be posted in the next day or so. Keep 'em comin'!!

Thank you all!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Wishes 18 thru 23 now posted!

Over on Avery's Quilt blog wishes 18 thru 23 were posted. Go check them out! A little birdie told us we will have 4 more show up on our doorstep from Arkansas any day now. We can't wait to see them!

Thanks to all for your support and wishes. Keep 'em coming!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We are STILL waiting... AAAHG!!!!

Well we are still waiting for our LID date from China. It's been 6 weeks and 3 days (not that I'm counting) and they said about 4-6 weeks. We are very anxious for this date, it's the next thing to check off the list. We are hoping it will be this week.

We would like to say thank you to everyone who have sent their wishes and pages and fabric, we love getting them in the mail and it does help with the waiting. We've received books (thank you Sarah and Dan & Kami & Kaeden!), and clothing (thank you Beth & Steve & boys) for Avery and many other things and we just can't wait until she is here and we get to use all of this stuff. We are constantly getting things with lady bugs and Asian influences for her room and the house.

It appears that I will be teaching a little 4 year old Asian girl at the studio this year. Her parents have gone through what we are doing. A sign? I think so... yet again!! Maybe to tell us that the wait will be okay and not seem as long as it looks right now. It seems funny how many signs we seem to have in our life that we are doing the right thing!!!

So, thank you to everyone, and keep the wishes coming because it keeps our spirits up!!

Love to everyone~
Alli & Gary

Sunday, August 19, 2007

10 more wishes for Avery!

We've received and bunch of wishes the past 2 weeks for Avery's quilt. We didn't have time to get them posted before we went on vacation in Cape Cod last week, so we did one huge update tonight. 10 wishes were added to the blog. Go check 'em out on Avery's Quilt blog (there's a link on the right side of this page under the 'links' section)

Keep them coming and thank you all for your support and encouragement!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Four more wishes for Avery!

Check out Avery's Quilt blog- 4 new wishes added!!

Keep 'em comin'!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Waiting is hard...this we know

Hello all,

We are are still awaiting our LID (log in date) from China. Truthfully we expect it any day now. Our DTC date was June 29, and according to the CCAA they have processed all dossiers through June 30. So, hopefully any day now we will have our second big important date ...the LID.

We are starting to feel how long the wait is going to be though. Maybe because it's Summer and we have more free time right now, so we notice the wait more...I don't know. We knew that when we decided to do this it would take a long time. We just want to get our first daughter and start our lives over in a whole new way. We have already decided that we will do this all over again to get Avery a sister from China. That wait will probably seem not as long because we will have Avery to occupy us. We are just excited!! Some days are worse than others. I can't wait to start the nursery this Fall!!!

Just wanted to say thank you to those of you who have sent in your quilt squares and your wishes. It really does help Gary and I to receive those in the mail. It gives us hope and reassurance. It gives us something right now to hold on to. People forget to be excited for us sometimes because I don't have a pregnant belly. But we do have an image of a beautiful black haired little girl with pigtails that will dance around our house and sing and say Mommy and Daddy and make us giggle and smile and bring a lot of joy into our lives.

So waiting is hard...this we know far too well. But it's worth it and we can't wait!!!

Love to all


Don't be afraid to leave us comments on our blogs. We love questions and to hear from everyone!!! Also, keep working on your wishes and squares we are looking forward to the next batch!!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Wishes added to Quilt Blog!

We've received two wishes in the mail over the past couple weeks and they have been added to Avery's quilt blog. Check 'em out! The link to Avery's quilt can be found to the right in the links sections.

Friday, July 6, 2007

New entries on Avery's Quilt blog

We've posted a couple entries on Avery's Quilt Blog that show the first two pages in her scrapbook that will go with her quilt. The first page has the invite that we sent out in the mail today- you should be getting them soon. Keep checking your mailbox! We couldn't possibly send one to everyone we know, so if you don't get one in the mail and would like to take part, by all means do!! We would love to have as many good wishes and prayers as possible for Avery's quilt! There is more info about the quilt on the quilt blog, which has a link to the right in the links section.

The second entry in the quilt blog is the page we put in her scrapbook that has our wish(es) to her. In the upper right hand corner of our wish page are swatches of fabric we are putting in the quilt. If you choose to do the full scrapbook page like we did, feel free to lay yours out however you choose! Be creative! Her scrapbook pages are 12x12. If you choose not to do a full page and only want to send in your fabric square and your wish with a swatch, that is fine too. We will incorporate it into a page to put it into Avery's scrapbook.

We look forward to seeing what you all come up with and what your wish for Avery is! We can't wait to share the scrapbook with Avery when she gets older so she can match the wishes in the scrapbook to the fabric in her quilt!

Gary & Alli

Monday, July 2, 2007

We are DTC!!!


We got an email from Vicky at New Life Adoption Agency today informing us that our dossier was sent to China on Friday, June 29th! They received verification from FedEx today that it was signed for at the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA). We now are waiting for our Log In Date (LID) from CCAA. This is the date our dossier is actually logged into their system and we are in the queue!

This is one of the major milestones we have been working towards! One step closer to Avery...

We will be sending out info for Avery's 100 Good Wishes Quilt very soon- keep checking your mailboxes. I have also set up another blog to track the progress of her quilt. There is a link to it under 'adoption links' on the right side of the page.

More to come soon!

~Gary & Allison

Friday, June 22, 2007

DTC is coming!!!

Sorry we haven't posted in awhile. We've been busy with the Recital and finishing up the dance year at the studio. When we last left a post we were waiting for everything to be authenticated and waiting for the I-171H form from Immigration Services.

Well...we got our I-171H form yesterday which is our approval to adopt an orphan from a foreign country. We sent it overnight to the adoption agency so they could send it to be authenticated. But when they got it today they said they also needed the second sheet in the packet with it. So, we ended up going to Syracuse today to drop off the second sheet in person so everything could go out together to be authenticated. When we were at the adoption agency our adoption agent Vicki gave us the GREAT NEWS that our dossier would be sent to China by the end of next week!!! We couldn't believe it!! We thought we would have to wait until at least the middle of July for it to be sent. So needless to say we are very excited and happy about this!

We should get our DTC (dossier to China) date next week. Then after that is the LID (log in date), where we are officially in the pile of dossiers to be looked at. After that the referral (our picture of Avery), then our T/A (travel approval), and we go get her!

As Gary said earlier today we are OFFICIALLY PREGNANT-on paper that is. Now we start the really long wait.

We are going to send out the information about the quilt to everyone really soon...keep watch in your mailboxes. We hope you will all participate in Avery's quilt. We look forward to opening the fabric in the mail during our long waiting and also look forward to assembling the quilt with family and friends.

We hope you are as excited as we are!
Alli & Gary

Monday, June 4, 2007

Progress report

Hello all!

It's been a while since we've posted, so we thought we'd give you all a quick update! We've been a bit busy with dance shows- it is that time of year! We had the NDC company shows over Memorial Day weekend, and the recital is coming up on the 12th. Luckily before all this hit, we got the last of our paperwork submitted.

Our Home Study has been submitted to the Orphan Adoption Unit of the USCIS. They are now in the process of getting it authenticated and we are awaitng our I-171H, which is the approval to adopt an orphan. This process normally takes 4-6 weeks. We are currently about 2 weeks into that wait period. In the meantime, the adoption agency is in the process of getting all the documents we have submitted so far for our dossier authenticated at the county, state, and federal level. Once we get our I-171H form, New Life will send this last document out to be authenticated and the dossier will be translated into Chinese at the Chinese Consulate. This usually takes another 3 weeks. Once it is authenticated and the translated, our dossier will be complete and will then be sent to China. With any luck, we are still looking at mid-July-ish for our dossier to go to China. :-)

Then the "official" clock begins! We'll keep you posted when we hear some news!

~Gary & Alli

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Avery Lin

In case y'all didn't notice, we added our daughter's name to the blog! (under the title)

We plan to add part of her birth name to her middle name when we find out what that is, which won't be until we get our referral from China. Part of her name will be a mystery to us all for a while yet!

Love to you all,

Gary & Alli

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Well, that was quick!

Surprise, surprise! Tonight at about 10:45 PM we received an email from our social worker with the first draft of the home study report asking for our comments/corrections. Didn't expect that! We just got done plowing through it, made some minor corrections, and sent it right back to her.


Very fitting passage...

"Do not be afraid for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west."
Isaiah 43:5

We Survived Home Study! (and the Paper Chase)

Last Saturday we met with our social worker for round 2 of the home study. Like the first visit, it went very well. We are done with the home visits and interviews- wahoo! Our social worker (did we mention she was real nice?) is currently in the process of typing up the home study report to submit to New Life for review. After New Life is satisfied with it, we will get a copy for review. Once we are happy, we meet one last time at a mutual location to sign the report and it will be submitted to be authenticated by New York State and the US government and to also be translated into Chinese. The authentication usually takes 4-6 weeks.

Last Friday we had our fingerprints taken at the Syracuse satellite office of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), which is part of Homeland Security. They used the scanner-type fingerprint machines- no ink! Pretty cool. The home study authentication and the fingerprints we just had taken are all needed to get our I-171H, which is approval from USCIS to adopt an orphan from another country, and is the last piece to go into our dossier.

Other news...
We finished off the computer course evaluation and recieved our certificate the next day. Not bad, considering the site that offers the courses indicated that the certifiacte could take up to seven days! We've already emailed the certificate to New Life.

We finished off the Internation Adoption Risk Statement tonight and will be mailing that, along with a hardcopy of the online course certificate out to New Life tommorrow.

The Paper Chase is now over! But...

We found out today that the USCIS fingerprints we had taken are only good for 15 months, The Home Study report is valid for 18 months, and the I-171H (when we get it) is valid for 18 months. With the curent wait time being around 18 months, these documents will most likely expire before we get our referral. Unless the wait times pull back in, we will be looking at Paper Chase Part II which will include re-submitting the I-600A, another round of fingerprints, a home study update, and another I-171H. Oh yeah, and about another $1000 in fees.

At ths point we don't really mind much because we know it will be oh so worth it in the end!!

We'll keep you posted.

Gary & Alli

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A real good week!

We've gotten a lot of things tidied up the past week or so since our last post. The house is cleaner than it has been in a long time, and we got rid of a lot of clutter. We also got some loose ends tied up with the paperwork.

It went real smooth with accountant last Monday and we got the letter for Alli's business sent right out. That was a huge relief since we had to wait three weeks for the appointment!

We received our fingerprint appointment letters from Homeland Security last Tuesday (finally!) and we are scheduled to have them taken this Friday, May 4th at the Syracuse branch office at 8:00AM. Wahoo!

We had our first home study visit last Saturday. It went really well! Our Social worker is very nice and is very laid back and easy going, which helped ease some of the anxiety. Now that we have started it we realize that there is nothing to be nervous about- it was actually quite enjoyable! During the visit she checked out the house- nothing fancy, just the nickel tour. She needed to see where the nursery would be, where our room was in relation to the nursery, etc. She needed to know the square footage of the nursery, as well as the for the whole house and how much land we have. She also needed to know our proximity to the schools, churches, stores, hospitals, doctor's offices, etc. Besides those types of questions, she asked how mew met, about us as a couple, some childrearing questions, and our views on how we felt she would be accepted in our community. SHe asked how we planned to incorporate her native culture into her life/our lives, which Alli and I have already started to do even though our little angel most likely isn't even born yet. She was impressed with how much have already thought about all those aspects of our lives and how they would be changing, which was nice to hear. We are excited to become and Asian-American family and look forward to the changes.

Our next home study meeting is this coming Saturday, the 5th, from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. This visit will count as two and will focus on each side of our families- 1 hour each. The final visit will be to sign the home study report at a mutual location chosen between us and New Life Adoption Agency.

We are really getting down to the short list now and we can see the light at the end of this tunnel. Just a few more papers to sign and submit...

We'll post another entry after our next visit to let you know how it went.

Thanks for all your love and support.

We love you all,
~Gary & Alli

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Gary's not a criminal... but we're not sure about Alli! ;^)

So, here's an update. Gary got his clearance from Homeland Security, but we're still waiting on mine. We received a letter in the mail from Homeland Security stating they needed an authentic birth certificate for me. The one we sent in with the first packet was issued from the hospital, which was the only one I had. We found out a few weeks later when we had to get everything certified, exemplified, and authenticated and when we filed for my passport that it wasn't really my birth certificate. So we sent the official one out and it shouldn't hold us up in the process. Once they receive it I should be getting my clearance from Homeland Security as well.

We received a call from our social worker today about our home study. We have our first meeting with her on Saturday morning. We are really excited to get this started...finally! We will meet with her for an hour this time then the second meeting will be hopefully for 2 hours and count as 2 visits. The last meeting is to sign papers and then it's all over. We'll let you know how this goes.

We meet with the accountant tomorrow to have them write a letter about the business. They just need to verify I make money at my business. No big deal we hope.

We have been spring cleaning like mad! We have taken 30 bags of stuff to the Salvation Army this week. We took back about $60.00 in cans. We got rid of tons of magazines and plastic. We've been cleaning out the spare bedroom (baby's room). We took a load of stuff (furniure) down to my parents auction barn for storage and also to give some of the stuff back. We knew we were pack rats but this has been ridiculous!! It is nice to clean out closets and get rid of stuff you just don't need and sometimes wonder why you bought it in the first place.

The great news is we are moving again with the adoption it feels like it has been standing still for awhile lately. Things that are left are home study, fingerprints, accountant letter, and my Homeland Security clearance and that's all she wrote.

Then the BIG wait starts.

Love to everyone~
Alli & Gary

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pregnant on Paper

Well, we just sent in another batch of paperwork. This one had almost everything for Packet Three. Our medical reports came back, everything was fine, we knew it would be. We had to send two copies for each of us and of course they had to be notarized. It also had the Dossier preparation fee. So now we are just waiting for the meeting with the accountant. That's really all we have left in Packet Three. We are still waiting for our last set of fingerprints to be taken and to find out who our social worker will be for Home Study. But those two things are out of our control, they have to contact us.

We are hoping they will contact us soon, because some of the documents can't be over a certain number of months or weeks old. If it takes too long we may have to re-do some of the documents, they call that The Paperchase Take Two. We are so hoping we don't have to do that. We are keeping our fingers crossed that everything will be done in a timely fashion, and nothing will need to be done over.

So, now it's just the accountant letter, and homestudy. They said once you start your Home Study they need to do 4 visits. They also said that they can do that in a 2 week period if necessary. The Home Study is where they interview us both seperately, then together, and check out the house and surroundings. It doesn't sound too bad. After they do all of that, they will write up our homestudy and send it out to be authenticated(4-6 weeks). After the Home Study comes all of the waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

I think lately the waiting has really started to sink in. How long we will actually have to wait. I am trying to stay really positive, but after 7 years of utter disappointments, and the want I feel for a child, some days it's difficult. I swear we're going through the same emotional roller coaster as we would if we were actually physically pregnant. We are pregnant on paper. But we do have a lot of stuff to keep us busy-new projects. The nursery, the home improvements, and the making of the quilt.

In Northern China there is a tradition of a 100 Good Wishes Quilt, or a Bai Jia Bei. It is a quilt that is made to welcome the child. It consists of pieces of fabric that friends and family contribute and from those pieces of fabric the quilt is made. Friends and family select a piece of fabric for the quilt, plus a scrap of the fabric is attached to a note that has a wish or blessing for the child. The scrap of the fabric with the wish is put into a scrapbook for the child and when she gets older she can match the fabric on the quilt to the scrapbook and see who's fabric it was and what their wish was for her. I am very excited about this project. We will not start it until the Dossier is sent to China-this Summer. I love this whole tradition though. I'll post another blog just about the quilt with more information at another time.

So I'm done babbling today, it just is starting to feel like a long time away, as it's said we are Pregnant On Paper and it takes longer than 9 months. Although everyone wants time to slow down, we want it to move quickly!

Love to everyone,
~Alli & Gary

Monday, April 2, 2007

Things add up...this is what we were meant to do.

So as we were saying some neat things have been happening to us as we have been going through this process. It seems everywhere we turn we see things that in our opinion are good luck and to us mean this is what we were meant to do.

We were watching some movies this weekend 3 to be exact and the conincidences and signs were everywhere. We saw Open Season, the beginning frame is just a lady bug sitting on a tree, and the frame is up for a little bit, just a lady bug(remember they are good luck symbols in the China adoption circle). The next movie was School for Scoundrels, wouldn't think anything about this one, yeah right. In the middle of the movie the teacher yells out, "it's not like you're going to China and adopting a child with her". That was just- weird, but interesting, and out of the blue. The third movie we watched was Rumor Has It. When Jennifer Aniston is depressed the guy takes her somewhere to cheer her up. Guess where...China Town. Plus in Rumor Has It the family's favorite movie they were talking about was a movie called "China Town". So, that was really kinda weird, and we didn't really think anything of it until through the 3rd movie, I shouted out, "Are you kidding me?" Then we added it all up and thought...this is what we were meant to be doing the signs are everywhere.

We knew that this is what we wanted and were meant to do before but it is really amazing the coincidences that keep on happening to us. We were in Target the other day and went through the patio and gardening stuff. It's all Asian themed. There were Buddas as far the eye could see. Lanterns everywhere, bamboo furniture, asain elephants and plaques of the Great Wall of China, more signs to us. It also gave us some ideas of how we want to change our gardens a little too.

I received a catalog in the mail last week, full of lady bug clothes and jewelry, and signs. It seems as if when we turn a corner in a store there is a little Asian girl-that I think is a big sign. I found some pictures of Chinese symbols for our office wall-cheap too!!! Gary bought me a Jade necklace with a Chinese symbol on means Good Luck & Good Fortune-love that!!!

We are so excited for this little girl, we have picked out her name, not telling anyone just yet though. We have things for her room and we love her already. The signs are all around us, and we are starting to pick up on them and notice them more eveyday. We are getting through the paperwork and the big waiting period is coming. I wonder if we will get a sign telling us, or making us think that she has been born. We will keep our eyes and ears open, our hearts are already there.

Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and left us comments. We love to read them, we love it when people are as excited as we are. Keep looking for lady bugs and wish time to pass quickly for us.

Alli & Gary

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Light at the end of the tunnel

We've made some good headway lately. We sent another packet of paperwork back to New Life on Saturday that contained our authenticated birth certificates, our financial statements, our application letter to the China Center of Adoption Affairs, the updated schedule of fees and expenses, and our Guardianship letters. A HUGE thank you to Steve and Beth for accepting to be the Guardians of our little girl in case anything ever happened to us. We know she would be in excellent hands!

We had our medical exams last Tuesday, the 27th of March. We are waiting for the call from the doctor's office to get the results and the notarized reports. I still have a wicked bruise on my arm from the blood work- it felt like the nurse was rootin' around in there and I think I have the proof!. Allison walked away without a single mark- and she's the one who usually bruises easily!

After the medical report gets submitted, one of the the last pieces of paperwork we need to get in is a letter from an Accountant stating the financial health of Allison's business. Unfortunately for us, we are at this stage at the height of tax season, and we can't get into see an Accountant until the 23rd of April (the 16th if we are lucky). This unexpected delay may push us out about 3 weeks in getting our dossier out. Anyone know an Accountant that is available any sooner?!?

I talked with Vicki at New Life about our situation and she said we will still be able to start the home study right away, but won't be able to have it fully completed and sent in for authentication until we get that letter from the Accountant. Fair enough- at least we should be able to keep some of it moving...

We completed our online computer course, but can't fill out the evaluation to get our certificate until we start our home study. There are questions that we have to discuss with our Social Worker and we have to list his/her name on the form. We don't know who our Social Worker is yet. Soon as we have our first meeting, we can get the evaluation submitted and get our certificate. Not a big deal.

Once we get all the paperwork submitted and our home study report is in from the Social Worker, we still have to wait for authentication to come back from the Citizens and Immigration Service office (CIS). Surprise, surprise- more waiting. To the tune of 4-6 weeks. This is the last piece of the puzzle for our dossier. At least we can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

We'll post another entry soon- we have noticed lots of strange, and very cool things happen lately that we will share with you!

Gary & Alli

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Passport! (and an update...)

Allison's passport finally came today! We can officially say we are done with packet II once we send a copy of the signature pages to New Life Adoption Agency. That'll be on Thursday!

Allison and I met with Vicki at New Life Tuesday morning. We had sent a lot of emails back and forth and talked on the phone, but never met face to face. She is really nice and answered all of the questions we had regarding packet III. We both felt pretty good when we left, and a little bit more excited! It looks like we will still be able to get our dossier off to China around the mid-June to July timeframe. That is of course dependant on how quickly the US government turns around the forms we have to submit to them, but if they turn them around in the "typical" time, then this is when we can expect it to go out.

After we got back in town on Tuesday from New Life, we visited the doctor's office to set up our medical exams needed for our dossier. We are scheduled to have them done next Tuesday, the 27th.

We have first drafts of our financial statement as well as our letter of Application to China complete. Both should be finalized in tha next day or so. We will also have our online course completed tonight- all 20 chapters! My employment verification letter is underway at the Air Brake and should I have that back by the end of the week.

So far, so good! The only setbacks we have had so far are the adoption fees increased by 10% (ouch!) and our Birth Certificates needed to be sent out to Albany twice due to an error at the County Clerk's Office. Nothing we can't deal with, because we know it will all be well worth it in the end!

We'll keep you posted!


Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Paper Chase

This past Tuesday, the 13th, we sent out another swath of paperwork to New Life. That packet included medical releases, foreign adoption agreements, travel agreements, and references. That didn't leave a whole lot left in packet 2! We still needed to send pictures of the house and of our family life, and copies of our passport signature page. We have the pictures all rounded up and ready to go- they will be sent out tomorrow. It was actually a lot of fun going through the piles of DVDs full of pictures to pick out ones that represent "us"! It brought back a lot of great memories! We are still waiting for Alli's passport to show up so we can finish off the last item in this packet.

When I got home from work today I found packet 3 waiting in the mailbox! This is the third (and final) packet of forms we need to fill out for our dossier. They call this paperwork phase we're in "the Paper Chase", and we are understanding why!

What's ahead in this packet:
-Medical exams/reports
-Financial statements
-Employment verifications
-Letter of Application to China
-Guardianship Letters

All of this notarized, 2 copies each, of course. :-)

More updates to come as we dig into the latest heap of paperwork!

Thank you all for your contined thoughts, prayers, and support!

Gary & Alli

Monday, March 12, 2007

Chinese Proverbs

Since we have started this process we have been on a lot of adoption websites. There are a lot of blogs sites, and personal stories, and videos, and pictures of the whole process. One thing that always comes up are chinese proverbs that have significant meaning during the adoption process. We thought we would share a few.

The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.

When a child is born invisible red threads extend from the child's spirit and connect to all the significant people who will be part of the child's life. As the child grows, the threads shorten, drawing closer those people who are destined to be together.

It's funny how when you start this process things have more meaning than they used to. You are more aware of your surroundings and the people in those surroundings. We were out shopping on Saturday and the people ahead of us were a little Asian girl probably 3-4 years old and a father(American). We looked at eachother and smiled and laughed.

~Alli & Gary

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Ladybugs are a popular sign of good luck in China adoptions. When we found out about this we both looked and each other a smiled because last year our house seemed to be infested with ladybugs! They were everywhere! Must have been a sign of things to come...

We actually talked about ladybugs earlier today, and tonight a short while after we finished off a few chapters of our online course, I looked to my left and there sat a ladybug!

So if you see a ladybug, think of us!

Gary and Alli

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


We sent in the first part of Packet II, which included some signed disclosures, the application and fee to start the Federal background checks, and paid the fee to start the home study. We have a few more documents to get notarized, which we will have done this week. Part of this packet also requires us to take an online course, which is actually a primer for international adoptions. We are enrolled in that and are in process to complete it. It is about 20 chapters long and we have worked through about 5 chapters so far. We have plenty of time to get this finished, but we are picking off a few chapters every few days to get it done. This works perfect for us, especially with Alli's schedule.

We had passport pictures taken today for Alli's passport and had multiple copies of both of our photos made for when we are in China. Alli needs 9 pictures, I need 7 (I already have my passport). Should've only taken a few minutes, but it ended up taking about 2 1/2 hours! First we tried Walgreens, and had to have mine taken twice because the first were really blurry. Alli's were okay, but not that great. We made our way down to the County Clerk's office, photos and documents in hand. The nice lady at the counter was a bit concerned that the pictures may not cut it- not sharp enough. We also found out that Alli's birth certificate was really only a certificate from the hospital and was not the real deal from the state. So, we headed down to City Hall to get a bonafide copy of her birth certificate, and while there, the very helpful ladies behind the counter suggested we try Ritz Camera, because they typically gave 6 copies when you order passport photos and heard that the quality was usually good. Piece of cake, right? Sure.

We stopped back at Walgreens and got our money refunded for the blurry pictures and made our way up to the mall for pictures and lunch. When we got to Ritz, the barely-out-of-high-school employees that happened to be on didn't know how to charge us for the extras- apparently they had never been asked to make that many copies before. Once they figured that out, they realized that their photo processors were down- they were waiting for a new hard drive to come in and didn't know when that would be. So much for that idea! We skipped lunch for the moment and headed to Severance Photo, which is where I was going to go initially due to the fact that it is where I had my pictures taken for my passport last year, but "figured" it would be cheaper someplace else. It ened up costing us HALF what it would have costed us at Walgreens. And the pictures were sharp to boot! We were finally able to get Alli's passport documents filed and grabbed some lunch. Check! Another one down.

We still need to get the rest of our references in as well as Exemplified copies of our birth certificates and marriage certificate. So it will be another trip to City Hall for our birth certificates and also to see John Knapp to get copies of our marriage certificate. We have a few other things to round up as well, but we are getting there. We should have another packet of info ready to go by week's end...

We'll keep you posted!

Gary & Alli

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The start of Step 2...

Got home from work tonight and found Packet Two in the mailbox!! Wahoo!! (That was quick!) :-)

We'll post another update once we get through some of the packet to let you know how we are doing.

Thank you all for your encouragement and support on our news. It means a lot to us!!

~Gary & Alli

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The first step

Welcome to our blog! For those who don't know, we are in the process of adopting a baby girl from China.

We figured this would be the easiest way to keep everyone informed of our progress with our adoption. It's going to be a long road, but we are looking forward to the journey. We are already on our way.

First of all, why adoption? Well, as most of you know, we have been trying to start a family for about 7 years now. We both felt in our hearts that it was right to try to conceive without the aid of drugs, procedures, surgeries, etc. If that wasn't to be naturally, we would pursue adoption. So here we are, and after speaking with the adoption agency, we know this is our destiny- without a doubt.

Secondly, why China? This question is sure to pop into all of your minds. We asked ourselves the same thing at first. But the more we thought about it, the more it made sense to us and we started to lean that way. We had a phone seminar with the adoption agency on Feb 15th and we listened to the advantages and disadvantages of both Domestic and China adoption and asked lots of questions. It became clear to us within the first five minutes what the right answer was. It's one of those things that is hard to put into words, but in your gut you just know it's right. The right answer was China.

China adoptions are typically more predictable in the length of time it takes. They have a definite beginning, middle and end. Domestic adoptions share many aspects of the first stage of the process, but after that they can be a lot more unpredictable. With domestic adoption you get put on a list and you wait. It may be 2 weeks; it may be 5 years. You just don't know. Parents are waiting for a child. In China it is the opposite scenario- there are children waiting for parents. The main wait in a China adoption is for the Chinese government to process the paperwork.

We were told that approximately 90% of domestic babies have problems with some form of drug and/or alcohol dependence at birth. Most of the time the babies recover just fine, but there are often complications. Many times the birth mothers aren't fully forthcoming in their medical histories as well. The mother also has the right to change their mind within the first month and can take the child back. This rarely happens, but is possible. We did mention that domestic adoptions were unpredictable, right? In China, the babies are abandoned due to social and cultural reasons and their abandonment of the child is considered final- no chance for the birth parents to change their minds. The average age at time of adoption is 8 to 11 months. The babies are fed, clothed, and all their medical needs are taken care of. They are very healthy, strong, and their needs are taken care of, save one. What they lack is the parent-child bond and are eager to love and be loved. That's where we come in.

Our decision to go the China route was based more on the experiences we would gain from the whole process. We liked the fact that it would be just the three of us in China- on the other side of the world- for the first 2 weeks of our lives together (no offense to our families!). We liked the idea of the three of us bonding in our own corner of the world. We liked the idea of being thrust into parenthood without a safety net. Sounds scary. Sounds like life. Feels like our destiny.

So, what's next? Paperwork. Lots of it. In three phases. All this paperwork and background checks are to build our dossier to be sent to China. We hope to have it completed and submitted to China by the middle of June (around 4 months). Then comes the long wait. At this point we will be waiting for the Chinese government to process the paperwork, hopefully accept us, and refer a child to us. This could take around 14 months or so. The referral will include a picture of our baby, her age, weight, height, birth name (which we'll change), and other vitals. After we accept the referral, we will be off to China to pick up our baby. We would get our baby the day after we get there, and then immediately start finalization of the adoption in China. We would also get the paperwork in order at the US consulate to get the baby's immigration visa to the US. While we are in China we will be traveling with other adoptive parents that are going through the same thing. We will be in China for 10-14 days. Sounds a little scary and exciting all at the same time!

As of Friday, Feb 23rd, we have the first of three packets of documents signed, notarized, and submitted. Phase one of three of the paperwork done. It now feels a little more "real". We are now waiting for the second packet to arrive, which from what we hear is the largest and most involved of the three. We are actually looking forward to it!

We've got a long road ahead- we'll keep you all informed of our progress!

Gary & Allison