Saturday, March 31, 2007

November 19th

Go to Wikipedia. In the search box type the month and day of your birth only (not the year).

1) List five events that happened on your birthday.

1493 - Christopher Columbus goes ashore on an island he first saw the day before. He names it San Juan Bautista (later renamed Puerto Rico).

1863 - American Civil War: Union President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address at the military cemetery dedication ceremony in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

1978 - Jim Jones leads members of his Peoples Temple cult in mass murder-suicide. The bodies of 914 people, including 276 children, were found in Jonestown,Guyana in South America.

1997 - In Des Moines, Iowa, Bobbi McCaughey gives birth to septuplets in the second known case where all seven babies were born alive.

2004 - A brawl breaks out between Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers players during their game at The Palace of Auburn Hills; the brawl turns into an even larger fight between Pacers players and Pistons fans.

2) List 3 people who were born on that day

1917 - Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India (d. 1984)

1961 - Meg Ryan, American actress

1977 - Kerri Strug, American Olympic gymnast

3) List 3 people who died on that day

1988 - Christina Onassis, daughter of billionaire Aristotle Onassis (b. 1950)

(I have no idea who any of the other people are so I'm not going to list anyone else.)

4) List any holidays or observances

World Toilet Day, see World Toilet Organization. (Is this hysterical or what?)
On a more serious not it is also Liberation (Indepemdence) Day in Mali

This was really interesting. I urge you to check it out on Wikipedia and post it on your blog, if you have one.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Another Waiting Game

This waiting game is for approval for us to adopt a foreign orphan. Now that we have sent in the I-600A application, the social worker sent in the homestudy, and our fingerprints have been taken, we have nothing to do pretty much but wait. Waiting is pretty much the name of the game from now on. Wait to get this approval so we can get on the waiting list, where we will wait for the go ahead to work on our dossier, so we can wait a referral of a child and then we will still wait some more to get travel dates so we can finally pick up our child. Now IF our social worker is correct in the approximate time of 8 weeks until getting the approval and being placed on the waiting list. That would make it late May that we get on the waiting list and it could then be sometime between end of May and August of 2008 that we may get referred a child and then probably between 2-6 months later travel, so there's a good chance that we would get him by the end of 2008.

Kerry, Steve & Tony (Julie)

Since the time when we traded e-mail addresses, I have misplaced yours. If you still have my e-mail, please e-mail me yours; otherwise I have a link if you click on see my complete profile. Hope we see you in April for the waiting families forum. Talk to you guys later!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Home Study finally completed!!!!

Geez, can't believe it has been over a week since I last posted; I've been meaning too, but you know how it goes. Before I share our news, I just want to say CONGRATULATIONS to Melanie and to Amber who had baby girls this month. Both Ashleigh and Veronica are so cute, as only newborns can be.

Today, I got home from work and found the following e-mail waiting for me:

Good news, I received your FBI cards and also your last ISP and CANTS clearances. Your study is being sent to CIS trackable mail from CHI. 2 copies are also in route to you.
If you haven't already fingerprinted with CIS, they wiCheck Spellingll invite you to fingerprint on receipt of the study. You would then get an invitation to fingerprint within the next 2 weeks. If you already were invited to print by CIS, then you are all set. In about 8 weeks you should receive your immigration approval, I 171 Contact me then so I can add you to the wait list. Congratulations. Have a great weekend

Well, I certainly will now; for those who aren't familiar with the adoption world this is great news, because it means we are finally getting close to being put on the waiting list by our agency. We just need USCIS (Immigration) to approve our petition to adopt a foreign orphan (the I-6ooA). Once they approve this we get the highly sought after 171-H, which gives us this approval and then our agency can place us on their waiting list. Once we are on the waiting list our agency is predicting a 12-15 month wait until we receive a referral for a baby. (We are open to either a boy or a girl, but the wait for a girl is much longer, 18-24 months, so we are expecting to be referred a boy!) They will then let us know a few months before they think we may get a referral to start compiling our dossier. (I will talk about the dossier in a future post.) Things are getting so much more real now. We are actually going to be parents!!!

Tomorrow, we will be getting our taxes done at 9, so hope and pray for us that we get a decent refund, since we will be having to pay our largest fee so far, once we get our 171-H. Hopefully in 8 weeks or less. It would be wonderful to be on the waiting list by June 1st, but we'll see! There has been a speed up at the Chicago office of the CIS; at their worse, there was a 12 week wait, but they have gotten much better. After our taxes are done, we will be heading up to Waukegan to get the fingerprints that our social worker mentions taken. (Yes another set of fingerprints.) I believe these are electronic fingerprints, so no ink is involved. I better get going I need to make sure all our tax information is in order and do a couple other things before heading to bed.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What's Up!

Great news, yesterday, we received the receipt for out I-600A that I mailed on 3/2. It was dated as having been received 3/6. Now all the fingerprints and background check information needs to come back from various governmental agencies to our adoption agency, so we can have our home study report completed and sent in. Also, yesterday, we received our fingerprint letter whichis needed as part of the process for the completion of the I-600A. We can't go this weekend due to the fact that we have signed up for an adoption conference, but the following Saturday, the 24th, we get our taxes done at 9 AM and as soon as it is over, we will head on up to Waukegan to the fingerprint office there. I have more to write about, but I need to get to bed. TGIF tomorrow!!! It's been a long week, work-wise at least.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Taste of Vietnam

Yesterday, Kevin had a early childhood seminar to attend, so I got up early and went along with him and went to Barnes & Noble for a couple hours. That is where I read all the articles about Brad and Angelina. I enjoyed just browsing around in Barnes and Noble. I had planned to walk around some, but didn't walk too much other than when Kevin dropped me off at the post office, so I could mail back the Netflix DVD that I watched the night before, The Butterfly Effect; somewhat strange, but not bad.

For lunch Kevin, one of his co-workers, her daughter and I went to a Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Evanston. The weather was beautiful, probably in the low 50's or upper 40's; at least it felt wonderful after the weather, we've been having this winter. The food was really good. I ordered Heo Xao Cam (your guess is as good as mine on how to pronounce it.) , which is marinated pork with onions, green peppers, and pineapple with orange sauce. You also got chicken soup (pho), fried rice and either a fried egg roll or a spring roll. I just can't get into the spring roll, so I went with the egg roll. I also ordered a dua (coconut) smoothie. It tasted a lot like a pina colada except for not having rum and oh yeah, no pineapple, either. Kevin ordered Ga Lui Dut Lo, which is brochette chicken, onions and green peppers with sweet sour sauce. We will definitely go there again. I can't wait until the weather gets even nicer, so we can go into the city to the area where they have a lot of Vietnamese restaurants. There's a handful of others here in the suburbs or outlying areas of the city, but there's a few streets in the northern part of the city, which is little enclave of Vietnamese restaurants and shops. Boy with the time change it is so bright outside and it is nearly 6:00, I better go make dinner. This weekend sure went quickly! Next weekend, we have an adoption conference to go to Saturday and then getting together with my parents to celebrate Kevin's birthday.

Amber asked how long it would be once we are on the waiting until we get a referral of a child? Well, things can change for either the better or the worst, but right now once we get on the waiting list is 12-15 months, at least last time that I know that our agency mentioned the wait times. Then we still will have to wait a couple months or more to travel to Vietnam. It's still, so early in the whole adoption process that it is really difficult to pinpoint a possible time that we may get our child or at least, his (or her) referral

Saturday, March 10, 2007


I'm sure most of you have heard about Brad and Angelina. They are adopting from Vietnam. Actually, the orphanage that they are going through is one that our agency works with. I don't know if that means that our agency is working with Angelina or not, because the orphanage may be working with more than one adoption agency. This morning I was reading in Star magazine about Brangelina and their Vietnam and there was a quote from someone who works for our agency. That really makes me wonder why of all the adoption agencies, why some from our agency would be quoted, if Angelina and Brad were not going through them!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Shout Out!

I just wanted to say "hi" to Janna who stopped by after such a long time. How's Isabella? How old is she now? I unfortunately don't have time to also stop by "LJT" and my subscription soon will end. Jess and Amber now have blogs so I can keep up with them, you are the only one who I am no longer able to follow. If you ever restart your blog, let me know.

Also a big "howdy" to Amber. I am so glad you started a blog, so I can follow you &your family's adventures. Hoping "Star" comes soon and praying for a VBAC, but if not, as long as "Star" is healthy that's what is important, remember!

Lala - Do you have a website? When I click on your profile, no blog shows up under your information.

I also want to thank everyone else who stops by regardless if they comment or not. I (we) would love to hear from all of you, so don't be shy!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Questions answered

How long does it take once you GET that approval?

The approval from USCIS can take anywhere from a month or less up to several months. I believe lately people have been getting it in 6 to 8 weeks once the home study is received. Right now, we are still waiting on several documents to be returned to our agency, so she can finish up our homestudy report. When we might get the documents is up in the air, but I really hope that it could all the different background checks, etc. might hopefully get to our agency before the end of the month. I would really love to be on our agency's waiting list by early July, if not sooner. Please keep us in your prayers, good wishes, whatever, that all this paperwork comes back quickly.

Thought there were more questions people asked, but that's the only one I see. If anyone has questions, feel free to post it in the comments section of a recent post and I'll try to answer it soon in a future post.

International Hits

It is so interesting, when I started this blog and not long after I started the one before this one. I put a web tracker on my website, which just lets me know how many people come to this website and in general, where they are. I can't find out specific information, but it shows me whatcountry , what state, and often times what city they are in. It's not 100% accurate of course, since I figured out for the most part that when Kevin or I visit our blog, it will show that the hit(s) came from Chicago, IL and although we are not from the city itself, we are a suburb. Some have it more specific such as Naperville, IL, Reston, VA, Houma, LA, but I usually don't often know specifically who it is. I know several people in and around Naperville, so it could be any of them. I don't know anyone personally from Reston, VA, but sice I see that hit location often I figure it's another blogger and adoptive parent (AP) or prospective adoptive parent (PAP). But one thing that I find the most fascinating is when I get hits from other countries than the United States. Canada, isn't that surprising since it's so nearby, but in just the past week or less I have gotten hits from Netherlands, France, Italy, Brazil, Germany, China, Croatia, Sweden and in the past I've even had hits from Vietnam, as well as probably other countries. I just find it really interesting. Since this year began, Ive had nearly 1900 visitors, most who have returned time and time again.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting but mostly Waiting on Paperwork!

Friday, I mailed off some more paperwork to various agencies: another set of our fingerprints for the Illinois State Police Bureau of Investigation and pretty much the same information that we sent earlier to the Dep't of Child and Family Services for a child abuse clearance. I also sent our I-600A along with a hefty cashier check, so CIS (Citizenship & Immigration) can start opening a file. Probably not much will be done until they receive the homestudy, but at least they might actually make a file for us and one can only hope that this office will issue fingerprinting (YES, more fingerprints) appointments for us. Our social worker though cannot send off our homestudy until they have received a bunch of different paperwork from various governmental agencies, the FBI, the ISBI, DCFS. At least, they have copies of our passports since those are the 1st things we sent for and hopefully the rest will be coming soon.

This will just be the start of our wait though. We will be waiting for one thing or the other all the time until we finally get home with our child from Vietnam. 1st we waited to be application to be approved by our agency, now we are pretty much waiting for all the paperwork, so our home study can be copmpleted and sent to CIS. After that we'll be waiting for our ginger print appointment and then after that to get governmental approval to adopt a foreign orphan. This is when we get our 171-H form. This important piece of paper gives us the final approval to be put on our agency's waiting list for a referral of a child. This will probably be the longest of all our waits. I believe, a few months before our agency thinks we will get a referral, they will have us start some more paperwork which is called our dossier. This will then be sent to Vietnam. Once we have received a referral of our child and have accepted it. We will wait some more to get travel approval, and other important dates that will occur when we are in Vietnam. The link to the left titled Adoption Buzz is extremely interesting as it explains many of the processes involved in adopting from Vietnam.

The latest update from our agency says that their are currently 6 families traveling in Vietnam and another 40 are waiting to travel. No referrals were received so far this month, but they are hopeful that there will be some soon. Hopefully some of the paperwork will start drifting into our agency. Also, we finally got our local police clearance letters from the local police station and I will be sending that to our social worker tomorrow.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

More Pictures of Truc Lam's Lion Team

It was very interesting and it was so nice to meet other parents-to-be, as well as many adoptive parents and their children. They usually have 2 or 3 more events each year ans we look forward to attending them, especially that day, when we can have our child there, too.

The trip home was much different than the ride there. It had started snowing quite hard while we were inside and the roads were pretty treacherous and slow-moving. Visibility was quite low and although, we were on a major highway, we averaged between 20-30 miles an hour. It took us nearly 2 hours to get home. When we got home, we had a good 5 inches and got several more inches overnight. Could have been worse, this past weekend, my in-laws in the U.P. of Michigan got over 18 inches of snow and for a good part of that time, the snow was falling at a rate of 6 inches per hour. YIKES!

More Pictures

Here are pictures from the girl's dance troupe.

Tet, Vietnamese New Year with Pictures

Last Saturday, we trekked on over to Chicago. It was slated to really snow a lot, but at the time we were setting out to go. It was not, yet. We had a Vietnamese meal, which I can't name exactly, but there were egg rolls, spring rolls, some sort of fried rice (beef,pork or chicken, I think) and a couple other Vietnamese ntrees or sides. We met a few others who were adopting from Vietnam. One couple had just received their referral of a little boy and were waiting to hear when they would be traveling to pick him up. Of course, she shared her picture of her adorable, soon-to-be son with all of us. I need to send an e-mail to her and see if they have heard anything. We also met another prospective mother who was going to be a single mother and I believe,was just finishing up her dossier to send to Vietnam.

After dinner, we got entertained by Vietnamese dancers, both a girls' dance troupe and a lion's dance team. Everyone really enjoyed it and I took lots of photos. So as not to bore all of you. I'll try and post only some of the best shots.

Here is a map of Vietnam and all their provinces. Our agency works with orphanages in Ho Chi Minh, Kien Gang, and Vinh Long. Can you find these provinces? Hint -- They are in the southern Vietnam. Another hint -- they are south of Cambodia.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Home Visit

Our home visit and the last home study appointment was on Tuesday. It was a breeze. We cleaned and straightened up and threw out lots of unneeded stuff. Why do we keep such junk? But everything went smoothly. The actual tour of the house couldn't have taken 5 minutes. We talked about safety issues, more attachment issues, and this and that. Now, we are waiting on a lot of paperwork to come back from various governmental agencies, so our social worker can finish up her home study report and then, we can start waiting for one of the most highly-anticipated documents, the I-600A - the petition to adopt a foreign orphan that we need to get from USCIS (Citizenship & Immigration - the former INS. Once we get that treasured approval, we can finally get on the waiting list. Send us your prayers, good wishes, etc. for everything to go speedily. (Is speedily even a word?) Thank goodness the weekend is almost here! For a change, we don't have many plans for this weekend. We will be getting together with my parents, but they will be coming out here. It'll be nice to not have any big plans and just visit with them. I'll post pictures over the weekend from the Tet celebration that we went to last weekend.