Sunday, July 26, 2015

So Close to Crossing the Ocean! What an Awesome Week We Just Had!

So it was 3 weeks out from our travel date to China. The full house renovations continue, packing non essential items at the current house started and much of the China trip baggage packed. So while more packing and new home decision making needed to be done, I left it all behind and headed to pick Bobby up from MDA camp. From there we headed to the Reece's Rainbow Reunion at Jellystone Park in Luray, Virginia. While I knew there was much to still be done (and I had originally thought David would be here attending with us) I knew the importance of attending this wonderful gathering. Adoption process stress is real and so to leave it behind for a week to spend with other RR families was just the ticket I needed! These families have BTDT and get it. We spent the week surrounded by families made through adoptions and with some great advocates as well. Everyone accepts everyone for who they are, understands the issues our children face and are all a part of this huge family called Reece's Rainbow.

Over the course of the week, over 80 families gathered together. Making new friends was a daily occurence. Swimming and the water park were a hit in the heat. Gatherings in the evenings included a potluck supper, several s'mores around the campfire and just a lot of gathering together to be with new friends. It was truly amazing to see so many kids flourishing in families. It was also such a a great feeling to know that we were accepted by all. How awesome to feel safe, secure, accepted, loved and not alone!

Bobby had a great time with a couple of the free craft activities offered.

His very favorite activity this time was gem mining. We visited mining 3 times! The last time we got the bucket and Bobby declared he "Hit the jackpot!"

Bobby and many of the kids loved swimming and playing at the splash park. I loved seeing all the kids swimming and interacting and just being kids, orphans no more!

Bobby loved hanging out with his good friends and making new ones each night. I loved it too. Even just sitting back and taking in the immenseness of the gathering. So many kids who could still be living in an orphange or adult mental asylum(due to aging out of the baby house in some countries). To watch them roasting marshmallows, eating s'mores, playing and running around with such joy. To see those who were lost now found with loving families and accepting friends was such a renewal of my spirit. We get a small taste of it every 6 months when we visit Cincinnati for Bobby's medical appointments, but it pales in comparison to this reunion.

How many days until our next reunion? Missing everyone and that reunion spirit!

Thanks to Auntie for arranging all of this!

You may have noticed Super Lu in some of the pictures. Here she is with Bobby as he shows her his treasures from gem mining and then shares his Lego. Be on the lookout for her as a guest blogger as we get ready to head to China!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

We have TA!

Received the call today that I have TA (Travel Approval) for David! The agency has sent in the request for our CA(Consulate Appointment) and once that is confirmed then travel plans can be finalized.

While it might be possible to travel by mid to late July, I have decided it is still best to wait and do August travel. Having an extra adult being able to go at that time will really help with getting around with 2 boys espeially if Bobby needs to use his wheelchair alot! Also travel in August means that Bobby can go to MDA Summer Camp which is a very special time.

I am able to check off of our list Chinese Visa for Bobby and I as they were delivered yesterday! I also now have a very lightweight transport/travel chair to take with us for Bobby since the adapted stroller is very heavy and most likely too long for some of the elevators in country. Packing has also started. I have 2 suitcases out for China along with 1 suicase for our trip to see Taylor next week, 1 suitcase for Bobby at MDA camp and 1 suitcase for our camping trip for the RR reunion. Looks like I will have to do laundry at the campground for Bobby so he has some clothes to wear as most of his will  have been packed and worn for MDA camp!

We are so close now! Soon these 2 will be back together, this time as brothers!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

An Early Surprise!

Imagine my surprise when I checked my email this morning and saw that my Article 5 was picked up today! I didn't expect this until next Tuesday so quite a nice surprise to see. So now the wait for Travel Approval begins. Some have received it in a few days and one of my fellow adoptive mom that lives just up the road from me waited an excrutiating 22 days! My hope is that I receive TA in the next couple of weeks. That would allow for our Consulate Appointment to be made and then I can book travel. Since we will not travel until 1st week of August, I am hoping to be able to get seats together and maybe slightly lower prices on airfare since we are not buying tickets last minute.

Our summer is already flying by and we stilll have so much to do before school starts and we travel to China. Bobby has Extended School Year services on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for an hour a day and we also have several dr appointments and MDA events. Today on the way to a dr appointment we stopped at Dunkin Donuts so Bobby could pick out a donut. When we got in the van Bobby said "I don't know if David will like donuts, but I will help him pick one out!" He is talking more about David and what he will help him learn when he gets here. Bobby is very excited to get his brother home.
Bobby and I saw Jurassic World on Monday and enjoyed the movie. In the movie, the boys are visiting the Jurassic World Park without their parents as they were invited to go by their aunt who works there. At the end of the movie when the parents came in and hugged the boys, Bobby started squirming and crying (well trying not to cry) he looked at me and said "Nothing, I don't want to talk about it." I know he is attached and bonded with me, but he still struggles with not having had a family before and really grasping that he has his own family now and that we are his forever. It breaks my heart and I am sure that some of those struggles will rear their ugly head while we are in China. He is so excited to go back, but nervous at the same time and understandably so. We will face the good and bad together.

This boy lights up my life!

And I am sure this one will too!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Article 5 and a Tentative Schedule

My Article 5 has been dropped off and should be picked up after the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, hopefully June 23rd. Then the TA wait begins. For many it only takes about a week, but unfortunately several families have been caught up in longer waits of over 2 and even 3 weeks. While we could possibly travel the last week in July if everything aligned right, I have spoken with my agency and our tentative travel dates will be in August. If the next steps proceed without delay, I hope to leave on August 6th. That would mean getting David on August 10th and a consulate appointment on August 17th and flying home August 20th. It would also mean we celebrate Bobby's 9th birthday here in the US and then about 2 weeks later celebrate David's 12th birthday with him in China. This way I will also hopefully have an extra adult along to help. Bobby has had more difficulty with falling, especially on uneven ground and has great difficulty with stairs, so I think it prudent to have another pair of hands along since China is not known for it's accessibility.

I sent off for both Bobby and my Chinese Visas, so that will be another step out of the way soon! Doing that made it seem much more real as far as how close we are to travel. I also received an update on David and a nice video. His favorite colors are green and blue. He doesn't like sponge cucumbers(which is good because I don't even know what a sponge cucumber is!!) He likes to go on field trips, be outdoors and play basketball ( guess I will be looking for a league for him to join!) They describe him as an extroverted, happy child who likes to help others <3 "He is very happy to have a family and is anxious to meet his family"(which I think probably should have translated "is anxious for his family to get there" as most of his friends have been adopted in the last few weeks)

It also looks like the new house will not be finished before we travel. I decided that can be a positive as it will allow David to help set up and choose things for the boys bedroom and playroom. Hopefully that will help him to begin to feel comfortable in this transition and help him understand that he is an integral part of our family.

As hard as it is to wait for the last few steps to be done, Bobby and I have so much planned between now and August, that I am sure time will fly! Considering I need to pack for a short trip to see Taylor, Bobby's week at MDA camp, The RR reunion and China along with needing to pack as much as I can to move (hopefully not too long after we get back from China0, I am sure that there will not be enough time in the day to accomplish all that I want to!

Here are a couple more pictures of David from when the agency went to visit. Very soon we will be there and he too will finally have a family!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Another step forward!

Yesterday, I received 1800 approval to adopt David! There are still a few more steps to accomplish so I am still not certain of the exact dates we will travel. It could be as early as mid July or could be in August. I am betting it will be August which means we may be in China for either Bobby's 9th birthday or David's 12th birthday. My hope is that he is with me before his 12th birthday so that we can celebrate his birthday together!

Since we are getting so close I would love to wrap up David's Disney Wall of Distinguished Character as I would like to have the list of names up for him to see when he first arrives home, just as Bobby did. We are about half way done with our chart and so many wonderful Disney Characters have been revealed. If you would like to add your name to David's wall all it takes is a $5 donation to my FSP with Reece's Rainbow. The donation button is on the side of this blog. Once you have donated let me know by commenting on my FB page post or here. The most current chart showing available numbers will be on my FB page. Your message or comment should tell me the number(s) you want revealed and name(s) you would like on the wall. I will post which character is hiding behind that number. Who will you get?? Here are the numbers still available..

Can't wait for this handsome guy to join our family!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Guess I should blog more often!

Guess I should do a blog post more often! Today we finally have soft LOA!! My agency should have the hard LOA within a week and will scan and email me a copy so I can send in the 1800 packet that I have had ready for weeks! A huge step closer to David/Jonny!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Time flies (well really I am just a lousy blogger!)

Sorry so long in between updates. I try to update on FB and forget to write a new post here. We have been crazy busy since the last post. First we have a new vehicle as my 2006 Chevy Uplander decided to have some transmission issues a week before we were to go to Cincinnati for Bobby's medical appointments. So within a week I had to find, finance, purchase and pick up a wheelchair accessible van. As luck would have it they had one locally in Bobby's favorite! I picked it up the day before we left to drive up to Ohio.

We left for Bobby's medical appointments a day early because there was a chance of snow here and since Atlanta shutsdown when it snows, I wanted to be out of here before it hit. We left as soon as Bobby got home from school and drove until almost the Tennessee/Kentucky line before it started getting dark so we stopped for the night. We woke up to this....

And so we waited until around lucnch time when the sun had come out and the roads were treated to leave. The roads were great for a while and then we passed through some heavy snow, and ice and freezing rain. At the top of one mountain it was breathtaking as the freezing rain had coated the trees and the snow was so white and deep and the roads were... very slick and scary! Bobby did start singing Let it Go from Frozen as that is what he thought it looked like! We had great visits with our friends in Ohio. Bobby had a blast playing Minecraft with his friends and getting to spend time with them. I enjoyed an adult only outing to IKEA and to girls night out dinner!  We also did our usual mini reunion of the 3 kids who grew up together in China and this time did get to celebrate Chinese New Year together! We had some very interesting Chinese candy and some were braver than others in the ones they would try!

In March we did a couple of Shamrock events for MDA and the Muscle Walk. We always enjoy getting together with the MDA sponsors and MDA families.

Also in March we were finally DTC for David!!! My dossier was finally sent on 3/9/2015 and was logged in (LID) on 3/17/2015. Nice Saint Patrick's day surprise!

 Bobby's class had a wedding for Q and U and Bobby was an "Introducer" and had to wear his finest clothes. So he did....

Our friends from Ohio also went to China to pick up their son Pat (who also grew up with Bobby and David so our mini reunion will be bigger next time!) and took David some stickers from us to share with his friends. They also gave him some pictures we sent.

In April we visited Taylor at her college. We enjoyed going to the teaching zoo and we all went to Busch Gardens. Bobby was brave enough this time to ride the kiddie rides by himself!

Bobby also had 2 weeks of wearing casts for serial casting. The second set were very uncomfortable but we were able to get him a little past 90 degree flexion in his ankles so it was better than we had hoped for!

The house renovations are coming along slowly but surely. We hit a few snags and the sunroom had to be rebuilt, but that turned out to provide another opportunity to make the flow better for the house and allowed us to have a door that will provide almost immediate access to the ramp outside from the boys bedroom should there be an emergency. The roof goes up next week and once we pass inspection for the electrical and plumbing that has been installed the dry wall will go in. The kitchen cabinets are due to be installed in 2 weeks and the vertical lift is in place and they were installing the doors on the shaft yesterday. It will still be a while before we can move, but progress is being made!

As of today we are on day 50 of the LOA(Letter of Acceptance) wait. The average lately has been 45 to 50 days, so looks like our wait will be longer than average. I would love to hear something tomorrow or Monday as that would be a sweet Mother's Day gift!(but I am not holding my breath)

School is about over for the year here and so our summer travels will begin. We will be heading back to Ohio to visit our friends and help out after their youngest has heart surgery. I am sad to be missing the PPMD conference this year, but with the house renovations, MDA camp and the RR reunion in July and hopefully travel to China either end of July or August, I knew we needed to miss it this year. We need to work in time to go visit Taylor as her program contintues through the summer. The students help run the zoo and the animals never take a break so neither do the students!

I hope to do an update on David's wall soon as their are still numbers available!