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