Saturday, April 24, 2010
My baby, Cole Griffin Fairley, turned thirteen today. I honestly cannot believe how the years have flown by. I think back to that day thirteen years ago and remember the excitement and anticipation of finally having a baby. I have loved babies my whole life. And at last I was going to have one. Our families were ecstatic because he was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. I had to have an emergency C-section, so Griff got to be the one to present him to the crowd. When he got back to the recovery room I asked him what everybody thought of the most precious thing that had ever happened to me, and he said, "I don't know... everybody was crying so bad I didn't hear what they said." That pretty much sums it up. Cole Fairley is my pride and joy. I have a theory about the firstborns... there is a bond with that first one that can't be replicated with subsequent children. We love all our children, but we love them all differently. The first one is your practice baby... the one you try to keep from hurting, the one you have to learn with, the one you worry over the most, etc. By the time the other ones are born, you're starting to get it figured out. However, I don't think we ever get it figured out.
Cole has always been a sweet, sweet soul. Now, I can see him growing into a handsome, interesting young man. I cannot wait to see what God has planned for him. He is destined for great things, this I know. He's just too wonderful not to be. But I'm a little biased.
So, happy birthday to my precious boy. I'm sorry we had to cancel your party... but we'll get it rescheduled. You are my pride and joy.
at 9:27 PM
I waited for the FedEx truck to arrive this morning. I got excited because I saw it coming... but it didn't stop!!! I called the agency and got the tracking number and saw that it should be delivered soon... so I continued to wait. Finally... it arrived! Griff and I signed it and I lit out to Birmingham to return it to the agency. Now the signed LOA goes BACK to China. Another form,the I800 goes to USCIS, where we hope for an approval in a couple of weeks. Let's all keep praying. He is listening... We're coming Mia...
at 9:17 PM
Monday, April 19, 2010
Unbelievable. This was an ordinary day. Or so I thought... until about 6:00 when I sat down to check email. There it was... an email from our adoption coordinator at Lifeline stating that our LOA had arrived! It will be FedExed to the house tomorrow for us to sign and return ASAP. You are probably wondering, "What is an LOA?" and maybe even, "What's the big deal?" The LOA (Letter of Acceptance) is the official response from the CCAA in China stating that they are approving us to adopt Mia. This is a big deal because it means that we are almost ready to travel! The big deal is also that we received the LOA in record time... just 39 days. The average wait time for LOA is around 66 days right now. The prayers for favor, the prayers for expediency were all heard and I must give God praise for His faithfulness. I have prayed daily, as I know many of you have, for this approval and it has finally been granted. I am overwhelmed.
Now, we begin the paperwork process to secure Mia'citizenship once we come home from China and also to acquire her Visa so that she can travel with us. It is a complicated process and one that will also require much prayer as our forms will be passed between the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the National Benefits Center, the National Visa Center, and the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China. Once Mia's citizenship approval and Visa are approved, the CCAA will issue us a TA... or Travel Approval. We will likely leave for China within a few days once the TA is granted. Our agency predicts this process will take another eight weeks. So, we are anticipating traveling in mid-June!
Again, thank you to all of you who've been praying with us for our LOA. We are on the last leg of the paperchase and I'm counting the days until we meet Mia.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
at 7:45 PM
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I sent another package to Mia last week. This package included pajamas, a blanket, a stuffed toy, and candy for the children. There is a lady in China that I order the items from and she has the package delivered to the orphanage. She is the same lady we used to send Mia's birthday cake and presents back in December. As part of the service, she works to get updates and new photos. Well, she was successful! The last time I saw a picture of Mia was January... so I am desperate for a peek at her! So, this morning I awoke to several more glimpses of our sweet, round-faced girl. In the updated informaton we learned that she is very tiny, weighing only 17 pounds fully clothed. She can walk by herself, is working on potty-training (this one surprised me), and is a good eater. She is still drinking from a bottle, which is very common in China. The Chinese aren't nearly as concerned about discontinuing the bottle as we are in the U.S. She enjoys adults playing with her and they still mention that she doesn't like furry toys, like the panda I sent her at Christmas. She can say a few words. The pictures weren't nearly as good quality-wise as the last ones, but at this point, I am so thrilled to have them, that I will take them gladly. I am thankful for the new updates and hopefully this will tide this anxious mama over for a few more weeks until we get our LOA. We are supposed to receive more update photos and information then. We shall see. I hope you enjoy the new pics. Please continue to say prayers for Mia, for the individual(s) who are working to approve our dossier, and for our family as we try to wait patiently for the day when we can bring Mia home.
at 8:08 PM
Monday, April 12, 2010
I'll bet you are wondering what 33 means... Well, it is the number of days we've been waiting for our LOA. An LOA is a formal letter from the CCAA saying that Griff and I have been officially approved to be Mia's parents. They issued us a Pre-approval (PA) back in December. Then our dossier was sent to China in February and was officially logged in on March 11. At that point, the timer started ticking. The average wait time in days is between 60-70 days right now. However, we are beginning to see approvals come in less time than that, so I am hopeful that we will be over this hurdle in a few more weeks. Once our LOA has been issued, we will then file more forms with the United States to get Mia's citizenship processed. This last stage usually takes two months. So, if my calculations are near right, it looks as if we might be traveling by late summer... hopefully July. Will we ever get there? I am struggling right now with an overwhelming feeling of discouragement. This is typical for this stage of the game, because we know we have a daughter that we can't get to, that we can't see or touch, or even communicate with. We are forced to trust that God is in control and that all will work out just as He planned. That is the ONLY comfort I can find these days. Please pray for us as we wait. I need them so much.
at 11:19 PM
Monday, April 5, 2010
Well, I initially thought I'd give you all a play by play of the Disney trip... but seeing how little time I have these days, I think I'll just combine it. Magic Kingdom was our favorite park. We loved the parades and the overall "euphoria" it gave you when you are there. We girls enjoyed taking Molly Brown to Bippity Boppity Boutique and the boys loved seeing the Atlanta Braves play on Tuesday. Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios were chaotic and extremely crowded. Fass passes were a rare commodity and we were unable to ride some of the headliner rides due to capacity crowds. We enjoyed the character dining the most. Chef Mickey's and 1900 Park Fare were great! Well, the experience was great... the food was okay... It was a memorable trip... one that I'm thankful I could take with my family. I am looking forward to taking sweet Mia one day. Enjoy a few of my favorite pics from the trip.
at 8:29 PM