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The Home Study is DONE!

3 February 2018

And I may have cried a little.

Hear me out.

At the end of December, I got the invoice for the home study. That was an encouraging sign.

Two weeks ago I reviewed a draft of the home study report, and was told it should be done in a couple days.

Then there were a couple monkey wrenches (of course). And both were my fault. 

  • One letter still said, “since [date/year]” instead of the actual date and year. Insert eye-roll, but so glad our awesome support team at AWAA found it BEFORE we mailed in all the paperwork!
  • And our health insurance info changed. I don’t think it really matters – the point is that one of us is insured and we can add the newbie to it right away – but still: I didn’t want it to turn into a big deal later.

But two weeks … You know how great I am at waiting for things.

Aside: Book Party!

In the meantime, a friend hosted an online Usborne book party. I love Usborne and couldn’t pass up a chance to win free books. I would not buy anything I told myself.

But then I asked about adoption books, and there is one: Babies Come from Airports.

How cute is that?

And it’s actually from the POV of the adopting family and children.
Lots of adoption books are from the POV of the adopted child, and aimed at helping him/her process the huge change. I’m sure we’ll get some of those too, but for now I want books for my Man Cub. It’s not our exact story (Mom goes to China herself while Dad stays home with the two older brothers), but there are so many adoption stories that I’m not surprised.

Ambushed By the Mail

So Friday I took a break from work (at my kitchen table) to tickle my little man and check the mail, and there were two big envelopes: one from AWAA and one from Usborne.

Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. Decide for yourself.

I handed Man Cub his big Usborn envelope and carefully cut open the AWAA one. It couldn’t have been anything else, but I honestly didn’t know if I was expecting it in the mail. I thought I’d get a digital copy in my email first, maybe – IDK what I was expecting, but it was just suddenly here.

I slide the huge stack of papers out of its manilla envelope and read:


And then I’m pretty sure I gasped a nonsensical string of exclamations like, “It is! It is! It’s here! Look!” It was sufficient to excite the enthusiasm of my empathetic five-year-old, who was happy to know it was, “important paperwork for di-di.”

“Open mine next!”

We opened his book and sat down on the couch to read it.

Note: Highly recommend this book for adopting families. It’s simple and super cute. It rhymes (I’m biased toward kids’ books that have a good rhyme scheme.). The illustrations are cute. And it’s funny – I laughed at the paperwork part. Man Cub laughed at the underpants being sucked up by the vacuum.

But you know how opening acts are responsible to warm up a crowd for the headliner? Or how men run and hide when women watch sappy movies on their periods? ‘Cause emotions just get primed?

Ya, that sudden, unexpected relief over the home study was a killer opener and I should have known better than to sit down and read a kids’ book about a completed adoption. I swallowed hard when the previously adopted kid found the security guard from his Gotcha Day pictures. And I totally choked at the end.

Shut up.

Up Next: Immigration Paperwork and Grant Applications

The rest of the paperwork for the U.S. Center for Immigration Services has been filled out and stuffed in an Express Mail envelope for a week. I dated our signatures, reviewed everything three more times (even though our Coordinator has already signed off on it), added one notarized copy of the home study, wrote a fat check to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (on a Green Lantern check – which I find delightfully ironic), and sealed it up.

And dropped it at the post office this morning. It should arrive Monday before 3:00 pm.

That means that we should get a notice in the mail in a few weeks with details on our next fingerprinting appointment (because the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security can’t share fingerprint records, I guess). We’re told to just do everything in our power to make the appointment they set for us, because rescheduling is a hassle.

And then – assuming it all goes well and our paperwork is flawless – we’ll get approval from the Immigration office. And that kicks off sending paperwork to China.

I went from the post office to Starbucks, where I created a new spreadsheet for grant applications. Because I’m convinced there’s absolutely nothing that coffee and spreadsheets can’t accomplish.

Putting the ‘Fun’ in ‘Fundraiser’ for February!

I mentioned already, but two super cool things in February.

UPDATE: The MudLOVE campaign page is live. CHECK IT OUT!

First, our MUDLove campaign officially kicks off on Monday! Sneak peek of our page –

This is a win-win-win situation right here. You can get cool stuff (win), help us bring our new little home (win), AND provide clean water to communities in need (win). I’m super excited about this.

And, of course, we’re partying like it’s 2018 … again … because in China, it is. 🙂 I know you’re making plans to come to this, if you’re local:

There will be Chinese New Year crafts for … everyone, really. I keep saying “kids,” but I know you people. We’ll do snacks and hang out and raffle more amazing gift baskets. There will be opportunities to donate, of course, but even if you’re broke – please come. It means the world to us just to know that you’re with us.

How Can I Help?

First, as always, we covet your prayers. Current prayer requests:

  • Di-di (“little brother”) – Please keep him in your prayers. Wherever he is, it is not ideal. Pray for peace and protection. Pray blessings over the people taking care of him, and the mother who had to let go of him.
  • Immigration paperwork – Pray that it goes smoothly, that our fingerprint appointments don’t cause problems, etc.
  • Grant applications – Pray for favor. There are lots of them, but there are lots of applicants as well.
  • Peace and patience for me.

If you want to do something else you can:

  • Share the MUDLove page when it’s ready, starting Monday. The campaign is 40 days. And it’s a great one ’cause I don’t think you have to know us to dig these mugs/wristbands, or to want to also provide clean water. (Or support a small business. Or to rescue a kid from a Chinese orphanage, for that matter.)
  • Party set-up is always easier with more hands. If you’re available as early as 5 pm that Thursday, hit me up. I’d love to have anyone help who wants to.
  • Sponsor a basket. Small businesses, and some individuals, are sponsoring raffle baskets, and we still have room for a couple more. Let me know if you’re interested, and I’ll shoot you details.

Thanks for going on this journey with us!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Raynna Myers permalink
    4 February 2018 1:07 PM

    I may have cried reading this!!! Love you sweet mama! Sending Big ((((HUGS))))!


  2. Jennifer permalink
    5 February 2018 8:52 AM

    Best quote/GIF ever “There’s no crying in baseball.” But there shall be much crying of tears of joy and relief, for you and us, as we watch this amazing process come to pass.

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