Thursday, May 26, 2005

What a day for adoption stuff

First, to start the day. We had a 9:00am meeting with MaryBeth for a first homestudy visit. I think that all went well. We were given more homework and talked briefly about our views on adoption, our families feelings, and our marriage and family life. Everything must have gone alright because MaryBeth gave Michelle the ok to go ahead with our pre-approval package to China. :-) We should know in about 6-8 weeks if we are pre-approved. From what it seems from both MaryBeth and Michelle, Yin is essentially ours if the PA goes through. No one has given us any real reason to doubt that. We took all our little gifts for Yin to Michelle today too. We sent a teddy bear, a blanket that I made, a disposable camera, a ladybug book and a photo album of our family. We can't wait to see pictures of Yin. I'm sure she's grown into a very beautiful little girl. We also found out that family from G.R. is pursuing a little boy from the AAI special waiting kids program, that little boy is at the same orphanage as Yin. I'm hoping that we get to travel with that family. I think a small group would be nice.

We also had a nice batch of mail. One piece from USCIS!! We got our fingerprint appointments, June 11th at 10:30am in Kentwood. It's a Saturday, so that works well for Wayne. We also got our birth certs. and marriage certificate from the state with the Great Seal on them. Woohoo!!
Also in that batch of mail was a letter from Michelle stating that she was going to be in China for 2 weeks. This is already knew. ;-)

This is probably the last post for the weekend. We are headed to Benzie for the 11th annual Wagner Family Campout at Timberline. Samantha is going again. YAY! She's a huge help. Theresa and Tyler are coming up on Saturday. It should be a fun time. Ok..I'm off. Aunt Airry if you get your present call us on our cell phone. We can't wait for you to see it!! :-) G'Night!!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Updates! I've taken some time off to regroup before posting a new message. First, Michelle emailed us on Friday to let us know that she WILL be travelling to where Yin is at. Can I get a big WOOOHHHOOOO???!!! We are beyond excited about that. Michelle offered to take some items over for us. I rounded up some pictures of our family, our home and our extended family to add to our photo album. I'm hoping to get a blanket over there to her, but I understand if Michelle doesn't have the suitcase space to take it. It will just have to wait till we get to travel in November. Slowly but surely this is all coming together. We will meet with MaryBeth on Wednesday for the homevist. Michelle mentioned that she already has our letter of intent, our nurture and care plan, and the agency recommendation headed to the translator to send to CCAA for pre-approval. It seems we are headed on a highway at 80 mph to get Yin home to Michigan...Oh, that's a GOOD thing by the way. :-) Friday also consisted of applying for our passports, getting background checks and talking to Beth (Stenzel) about getting a reference for the homestudy. She agreed (YAY! I did have to agree to attend a pampered chef party. Haha. A girl can never have enough pizza stones or good kitchen tools!!) We needed to have a teacher or admin person write a letter on our behalf about our qualifications for parenting another child, a child with special needs, and how our own children are going to react to the addition of another child. Without a doubt, I'm sure that it will all go smoothly.

We spoke with Michelle Schoon at the kids soccer games Saturday. Michelle and her husband adopted their daugher Ellie from China about 2 years ago. She's adorable! I'm sure people will think that of our Yin as well. Michelle was very positive and supportive, I look forward to having more conversations with her about their adoption process and how their family is now.

Wayne and I went to Muskegon today and bought 3 of our 4 required reading books. I couldn't find the "eyes wide open" workbook. I do think that MaryBeth said that we could get that at their office. I'm almost half way done with The Lost Daughters of China. It's been a great book, and I now see why they recommend that new adoptive parents read it. (Hey..Auntie Cheryl, when you come home I'll let you take it back with will explain more of the situation in China than I ever could.) I'm excited to get reading...although..I'm not sure

Thursday, May 19, 2005

MaryBeth called!!

Ok, so the day didn't go like I had thought. We didn't get to all the appointments that I wanted to., but...the big but....MaryBeth called today. We have our first 2 home visits scheduled. May 25th and June 1st. I need to get my arse in gear and get the recommended reading material and start reading. We need to read 4 books before we can schedule the last home visit. If we can go as fast as another family, we will be able to get it done in 4 weeks. Not that it will make our process go any faster, but I want to get all this outta the way so we can have a somewhat peaceful summer. I want to get all our paperwork for the dossier completed in record speed. I want MeiYin to get home before Christmas. Speaking of MeiYin...Wayne and I have jumped around on names again. We both really like MeiYin, but I haven't consulted Ming to see if she feels that it's an ok combination. I'm sort of leaning towards giving her an American name, just for her choice later on. I like Allyson. So her full name (if I get my way) would be Allyson MeiYin Gui Wagner. WOW! That is a mouthful...maybe I need to shorten it to Allyson MeiYin or Allyson YinGui. I don't know...I'm glad we have enough time to figure it out.

So, here's the game plan for tomorrow. Wayne and I hit the county clerks office for the application for passports. I'd like to hit sheriffs office too for the criminal checks. I doubt that will happen. Anna has her last day of preschool tomorrow as well. The graduation ceremony is at 7:00. I can't wait to see the PowerPoint they put together. Yes, Aunt Cheryl...I will either email that to you or send you a hard copy. :-) Ok...I'm tired. Night!! ;-)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Busy Day!

Today is the day we get our passports, criminal background checks and the medical exams. What a busy day!! Hard to believe we are really doing this. We talked with Marc and Sharon last night. They decided not to be Yin's guardians for the purpose of our dossier. So the search continues. We are now hoping that Eric and Michelle will do it. If they won't...well, the search continues. Maybe Jeff and Tracy or Greg and Kathy. I gues we need to find out more about the legality of the guardianship part of the dossier. I'll be back later!!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Oh my goodness!! Holy Cow!

Um...I'm not sure where to start. We had our conference with Michelle today. She dropped a bomb on us. She is travelling to Hubei next week and has the possibility of going to Yin's home town and seeing her!!!!!!!! Wayne and I were speechless. I can't believe it. She may get to see Yin!! We are frantically trying to get ideas together for a care package for her. I'd like to pack a blanket, a camera, pictures of our family and house and maybe a little toy. If I don't get to send her something, all I ask the Lord for are a few new pictures of her. I can't wait to see how big she is. I'm sure she's really grown from the old pictures. I'm saying a special prayer tonight in hopes for the new photos and the ability to get a package to her. :-)

Venting about the bitter woman

I was just reading another couples blog about their adoption process. I really think the woman that writes is nut. I think she harbors some serious issues with families that have biological children or already have adopted kids. She seems very bitter and has alot of resentment towards those other families. She apparently feels slighted in some way that she wasn't able to have children of her own. I know many women who aren't able to have their own kids and they are very well adjusted people! I just don't get where this womans attitude comes from. It's not like God sat down and made a list of people he was going to make infertile. It just happens, life works in mysterious ways and we need to take it as it comes. If it doesn't work out how we want, we make changes; we adapt. I guess I feel sorry for her. She's a very cynical person, for her adopted child's sake I hope she changes. Life is too damned short to hold grudges.

Ok, enough of my venting about someone else. We have our phone meeting with Michelle today. I hope this is when MaryBeth makes our homestudy visit. I will update more later. :-)

The starfish story

Yay!! Got the paperwork for the I-600! We also ordered our birth certificates and marriage certificate from VitalChek. Another YAY!! I'm trying to convince Samantha to come help we get the house ready for the homestudy. I'm not sure when MaryBeth will be coming to the house, but we need to get things in order. I'd like to have the visit before Memorial weekend, but I doubt that will happen. From what I can tell from AAI is a fairly busy agency. The more I visit online groups the more I see AAI families. :-) Crazy me is already thinking about doing this again for a baby boy. Cameron wants a baby brother. Wayne probably thinks I'm nuts. He probably thinks that I'm a nut already. Hahahaha!!! When you look at all the kids that are available, it breaks your heart. But the most important thing is that we are making the difference to a little girl that wouldn't have half the chance. Here is the story of the starfish.

There was a young man walking down a deserted beach just before dawn. In the distance he saw a frail old man. As he approached the old man, he saw him picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea. The young man gazed in wonder as the old man again and again threw the small starfish from the sand to the water. He asked, "Old man, why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time." The old man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun. "But there must be thousands of beaches and millions of starfish!" exclaimed the young man. "How can you make any difference?"
The old man looked at the small starfish in his hand and as he threw it to the safety of the sea, he said, "It makes a difference to this one!". Author unknown

I think this about sums it up for us as a family. I wish the world felt this way....

Friday, May 13, 2005

Rain, Rain, go away...

Bleh, it's been raining all day today. What a bummer. Not that it really mattered, I worked at the hotel today. Another big BLEH. I did get some paperwork done while there. I wrote up the employer letter. YAY! I'm super tired, so I'm not feeling up to leaving a huge post tonight. Maybe tomorrow. :-)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Appointments, Appointments, and AARRRGGHHH!!

I just made our medical appointments. May 17th at 1:15 and 5:15. Ahh...the benefits of living in small town USA. There will be a lot of things that I think will be easier since we do live in a small town. The police reports, the doc visits, employer reference letters...there's just SO MUCH to do. None of it is really hard, just time consuming and enough to keep me busy for a while. I'm going to try to convince Wayne to go apply for our passports today. I'm still waiting for our I-600 stuff to get here. :-( Anyways, time for a shower...Be back later!!

I spent about 2 hours at Wayne's office trying to organize all of the dossier info. Wayne wrote his letter (well, I typed it...he talked and gave me info), I called the sheriff's dept. to see how we go about getting background checks. I'd like to get the passports done and get the copies of our birth certificates/marriage certificate while we are at the county clerks office. I just need to get Wayne motivated to get there. He doesn't feel the rush like I do. I just want to get LuYin here as soon as possible. Guess that's the mom in me... The one thing that has impressed Wayne is my organization skills of all this adoption stuff. We scheduled a phone appointment with Michelle on Monday for 1:00. This is to discuss the dossier/homestudy process. We now have an assigned caseworker. Her name is MaryBeth and she should be contacting us soon about setting up our first homestudy visit. YAY! :-) I talked with Marc and Sharon about being the legal guardians for the purpose of the dossier. I'm sure they will, they love kids like we do! Besides, LuYin is the cutest kid! (Yes, I am sounding more like her mom everyday!)

We now know what the term paperchase means!

Before I get into the paperchase, we got the carseat issue square. The seller is going to refund $11.01 of my total. I think that's fair. The intial bid price was $19.99. So we ended up getting the seat for just about $40.00. :-) There are still nice and honest people out there.

Ok...about the "paperchase"...We got our dossier packet from AAI today. I've never had so many forms in my whole life to fill out. I think there are more than when we bought our house. This is where Wayne is going to need to step up and really get his hands dirty. I'm so not the paperwork girl, but I'm sure with the both of us on it, it will all come together. As far as I can tell, there was a preliminary packet sent to China already alerting them to our intention to adopt LuYin. How exciting!! Well, I'm off to find other waiting families (families that are in the process like we are, waiting for referrels or waiting to travel.). G'Night!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The carseat

We got the carseat today. It was broken. :-( But Wayne (master fixer of all that is broken or needs repair) says that he can fix it. YAY!!! It's a carseat just like I had for Cam and Anna except for it's gray and black and matches the interior of my car. Hahahaha!! Still no word from AAI on our application. It is only Tuesday. Michelle said I needed to wait till closer to the end of the week to call if I didn't hear anything. That's really hard. I want this process to go faster. We are also still waiting to get our I-600A. I need to remember it's like when I was pregnant. 9 months of waiting...and waiting, and waiting....

Monday, May 9, 2005

"An invisable red thread...."

“An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.” - Chinese Proverb

I had started this journal about 2 weeks ago and lost it in the saving process. Here is what I remembered typing before.

April 19th 2005: We attended an informational meeting at AAI in Jenison to learn more about international adoption. There wasn't too much new info, but for Wayne it went well. They had a family speak that had recently adopted from China and thru their special waiting child program. This is the same program that we are using to adopt LuYin. I can't remember the date of the first time that I saw her picture, but I remember getting her medical info and pictures in the mail. It was so exciting!! I knew from that point that we needed to add her to our family. With all of the experience we have with Anna and her hearing loss, I knew that I could handle having a child with aural atresia/microtia. In another post I will explain what both those conditions are. Until then, here is a website that explains it a bit better than I can.

May 2nd, 2005: We attend another meeting. This time it's for adoption awareness. Once again, there was little that I learned, but still good to meet other families. We are the only ones out of a total of 3 families at the meeting that are adopting a special needs child. I don't even think of LuYin as a special needs kid. So she's got a peanut ear, big deal. I've already got one kid in glasses, one kid in hearing aids that wants glasses and a dog with only 3 legs. :-) Yes, welcome to the Wagner family!! Wayne has been an amazing guy. He truly supports all of my adventures. I think he wanted another child more than he lets on. So, at the meeting, we listen to Michelle talk about all the risks associated with international adoption. I am the fearless one, nothing scares me!! I have faith in God that all this will work out. I just know it. I do believe in fate and there have been too many "signs" to ignore. We are a bit hung up on what to name the baby. Her official name is Lu Yin Gui. I'd like to call her LuYin or MeiYin. We'll see.

May 6th, 2005: We went to West Shore Bank (downtown) and had 2 pieces of our application notarized. That was the last part of the puzzle. We headed to the post office and sent our the app (priority mail, of course) and it arrived in Jenison the very next day! Gotta love the USPS. Now we wait to hear from Michelle or Mary or another of the caseworkers to determine when we can start our homestudy.

May 9th, 2005: Wayne and I went to Walgreens and had our passport photos taken. Mine looks rather like LuYin's referrel picture. Like a mugshot. Wayne like always, took a great picture. What a snot. We also faxed Michelle a sheet with more of our info for the application. I'd like to get the homestudy moving.

Here are Cameron and Anna. They are super excited about having a new baby sister!! Posted by Hello

This is LuYin. Isn't she a cutie??? Posted by Hello

Here we and Poppa's 70th birthday party in 2003 Posted by Hello