Monday, February 23, 2009

Baby Shower (Rai Day)

Saturday was the long awaited baby shower, or "Rai Day" as Aaron called it. We had a wonerful time visiting, eating, playing non-pregnancy-related baby shower games, and opening gifts. Thank you Mili and Biju for planning such a fun event and thank you to everyone who took part in this special day!

Here are a few pictures:

I'm not sure how we fit 29 people into our living room, but so far no one is sitting on the floor.

Let the games begin!

John & Sean's turn to play "I have never..."

Biju's Homemade Panda Cake

Opening Gifts (The silly, stacked hats only gets worse...)

Expert Baby Shower Planners: Mili & Biju

Wednesday, February 18, 2009



Rai's I600 (petition to classify us as Rai's legal guardians) was approved Feb. 17th! We even got his legal paperwork back! I am still flustered that there are Dallas-area moms who still are pulling teeth to get their I600 paperwork processed, but I am so glad to hear that things were not nearly as backed up due to the move as we all thought they were. (I hope everyone else's approvals come in soon!)

The next step on the US-side is the NVC (National Visa Center) log in and log out to get Rai's Visa ready! From the Holt Bulletin Board, it looks as though most moms wait a week before they begin calling for a status. In the meantime, our process on the Korea-side is still moving along. Although the expected wait is another 2-3 weeks, many moms have been receiving their approvals 1 week earlier. (It's looking good for a possible Spring Break trip!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stalking the mailbox this week!

In between grading 80 reports, I checked my email and double surprises!

USCIS Update
We received an email today which states that both the I600A and I600 applications were processed and mailed! I assume they were approved, so this is GREAT NEWS for possible quick travel! Now, I will be stalking the mailbox every day this week until our documented approval comes through. THEN, we can begin calling for statuses on the process. This means I'll be a bag of nerves nearly every day (and going to-do list crazy) until we travel.

Medical Update
Rai's February Well Baby Clinic indicated that he is now: 20.9 lbs, 29.9 inches (2'6"), has 8 teeth (4 on top and 4 on bottom), and walks alone! Everything looks great! We're also fairly certain that the agency received his care package before his WBC, so he should have received his package by February 2nd. It sends chills down my spine to think that he's staring at our picture and thinking, "Who are these people?!"

So it is still possible to travel by Spring Break if we are receiving the I600/I600A approvals and the Emigration Permit is processed as scheduled. Hopefully, the right columns will fill in quickly over the next few weeks and our new family picture will be posted before you know it.

This weekend is the big baby shower. I'm so thankful to our wonderful friends for planning this, and we can't wait to see everyone and share the updates thus far. I promise to update the blog by Sunday with pictures as well.

Have a wonderful week and check back soon!

Friday, February 13, 2009

EP Submitted!

Any day now, we should be receiving updates from Rai's well baby check appointment (from early February). In the meantime, we a little more news...

Yesterday afternoon, we received an email stating that Rai's EP (Emigration Permit) was submitted on February 11th and should be approved in 3-4 weeks. This is great news!

Here are the steps left in a nutshell:

1. I-600A/I-600 Approval (USCIS)
2. NVC (National Visa Center) checked in and checked out to issue Rai a US visa

1. EP (Emigration Permit) issued - gives Rai permission to leave Korea for the purpose of being adopted
2. Travel Certificate issued - like a passport but only one way
3. Visa Physical Exam
4. P3 (Packet 3) - paperwork sent from Embassy to US agency to obtain paperwork for Visa Issue

Once both sides are completed, Rai's visa is issued and then he is ready to travel!

Based on the "formula" created by an adoptive mom on the Holt BB, we could potentially travel as early as March 18 (if a miracle happens at USCIS and the I600 is approved quickly). If our I600 approval is delayed, we're looking at April 2nd or 9th. If USCIS loses our paperwork then it's a different story. :-)

Since I have my doubts about the speed of the I600 processing, I contacted the USCIS office this morning and hope to have a better idea by next week. There is an Asian Studies conference in Chicago in late March I would love to attend, but I'd much rather be in South Korea earlier if that's possible. If not, the conference will be a nice distraction.

As a side note, there are four other families on the Holt BB who received the same email notification on the same day. Although travel times vary considerably, it would be nice to meet some of these families while we are in Korea. Everyone has been so supportive and helpful in explaining this crazy process to us!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

One baby step closer...

At 12:04pm today, we finally received our letter for fingerprinting. YAY! I'm not sure if it was the I600A application (received in December) that they just began processing or the I600 application (with letter explaining or lack of updates since December) that moved things along, but I'm relieved! Hopefully, our fingerprints will be processed quickly so that we can get through his immigration paperwork and meet Rai already! :-)
It did bring a smile to my face to read that an adoptive mom on the Holt Bulletin Board received her I600 approval only 1 1/2 weeks after fingerprinting. She had also submitted their I600 and I600A together, so I'm hoping the efficiency of her USCIS office will rub off on ours!

Rai's Room Update
Our project for last weekend was the fan for Rai's room. Aaron normally doesn't like to make any decisions, so I picked out a fan that I liked the last time we went to Lowe's. Then we received a Lowe's $10 off coupon, which was definitely a sign. :-) Well, as it turns out, Aaron wasn't impressed with the fan I had picked out and really liked another fan with palm-like blades. As I told our social worker, when Aaron does make a decision, it's hard to talk him out of it. :-) But what really tickled me was the $40 price difference in our picks. For once, Aaron's pick was $40 MORE than mine. haha So we got the palm fan and went home. To make a long story slightly less long, the fan looks great, but the globe is a bit dark and doesn't allow much light to pass through. We just laughed it off and decided that Rai doesn't need to have bright lights after sun-down anyway. It does look good in the room, though.

Biking in Woodbridge
Our neighborhood has several great walking trails, so I dragged Aaron away from his computer on Sunday for a bike ride. Aaron's bike must have felt the same as him because the tire and tube blew out before we approached the end of the block. Luckily, BikeMarts are not only open on Sundays but have double the staff as USCIS (haha), and I had a new tire and tube within an hour. It really was pretty outside. It also got us thinking about how nice it will be to ride as a slightly larger family in a few months.

Updates on other family members
My mom had minor surgery on her sinuses on Wednesday. In the recovery room, I read her the tips and warnings page to keep her awake and nearly feel out of my chair when I got to the following recommendation:

- Avoid being hit in the nose or face

What?! Isn't this a no-brainer of anyone regardless of having surgery? It just so happens that they were referring to being around small children. Ah! It's just another thing you don't think about until you have a child with arms. :-)