Monday, March 23, 2009

Not this week :-(

We have just learned that Rai did not have his visa physical last month (only done once a month), so it will be at least another week or two before we can travel. His visa physical will take place (correction) sometime this week, and we will then need to sign a waiver, notorize, and return before Holt in Korea can return the paperwork for the visa interview. Ugh! I was really hoping any day now we could travel, but there is some peace of mind now that we know it will be April.

Aaron brought my attention to the visa physical correction. We think it may be this week, so we will keep our eyes peeled for updates. I am still under the impression it may be another 5 business days or so, but I would love to be surprised with an early travel call! :-) In any case, the bags will be packed and ready by tomorrow.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Updates (not traveling yet)

Adoption-Related Projects
The new blog design is a reflection of my week thus far - all play and not much work. It is Spring Break, so I've tried not to swamp myself with work. Unfortunately, there are so many things to do, and we're running low on time. At the same time, I have found it easy to become distracted with anything adoption-related. Let's face it - adoption is on the brain! So instead of spending the entire week reading the Holt bulletin board, I've worked on several small adoption-related projects:
- Finish shopping for Rai's room (curtain goes up tonight)
- Give the adoption blog a face lift and prepare for posting large amounts of pictures and videos
- Work on the Lifebook (similar to scrapbook)
- Mentally prepare Rai's adoption story (including his birth parents, foster parents, our reasons for adopting, etc.)

I recently read a great blog posting (recommended on the Holt Bulletin Board) entitled "Twenty-Three Things This Korean Adoptee Thought as a Child" and found it helpful in working on Rai's Lifebook and Adoption Story. Here is the link:
I think everyone involved in adoption (parents, family, friends) should read this. Several points bring to light the phrases people often say that can be hurtful, such as "You're so lucky to be adopted." Many people have said "You are such wonderful people to be adopting," and I often want to ask "Why?" We did not choose adoption as a "last resort" but felt in our hearts that this was the way we wanted to build our family. This isn't a lecture by any means, but I think it is important to know the perspective of an adoptee. As I begin to write several entries in the journaling sections of Rai's Lifebook, I am careful not to leave out any details and to be honest both with Rai and with myself.

Updates on the Korean Front
At this time, we are still waiting for the agency in Korea to return the immigration paperwork needed to schedule the Visa Appointment. In the back of my mind, I do realize that with a child who was hospitalized for one week due to pneumonia, it is possible Rai was not able to have a visa physical (needed for the visa appointment) last month. Unfortunately, these physicals only take place once a month, so we may be held up. Still, I won't give up hope that everything is ready and a visa appointment could take place next week. Sure, it would be nice to travel during Spring Break, but it is what it is.

This weekend, I will spend some quiet time at home getting our bags packed, the house cleaned, and my syllabus juggled (with Plan A, B, C... depending on the date we leave).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Beef... it's what's for dinner :-)

Speaking of splendid Mondays, we got a Well Baby Check update Monday afternoon! As of March 5th, Rai is now 30.71 inches, weighs 21.3 pounds, and eats rice soup with several kinds of vegetables and BEEF! There is no mention of formula, which has me a little confused, but we will figure it out when we meet foster mom.

As for his development, he walks alone, put toys in and out of a box, plays ball with the examiner, likes books, likes children's TV programs, waves "bye-bye," AND says "umma" ("mama" in Korean). I'm so glad to get this update before we travel. We will have to scout out some of Rai's favorite TV shows on DVD and pick up his favorite book when we shop in Seoul. It might be helpful to also pack a few books in his diaper bag for the LONG plane ride home!

No updated pictures. :-( We didn't ask since we were hoping to travel, and we're lucky to have all the pictures we already have. But we might be a little surprised in our first meeting since it has been 4 months since the last picture!

Monday, March 16, 2009


"You know you're an adoptive parents when you look forward to Mondays!" -Holt Bulletin Board

Woohoo! I called this morning and learned that Packet 3 was sent this morning (from the US Embassy in Korea to Holt in Korea). We're right on schedule! Oh please, Holt-Korea, let's get that Visa Appointment scheduled for this week, so Rai can come home!

Now, for some last minute shopping... and then a Ladies Night Out thanks to my wonderful Prof. Comm. buddies!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Now we just need the baby (and a curtain rod) - Update room pictures

The furniture is all together and the puzzles are finally up! Here is Rai's room and the play room (that Lucy is willing to share):

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The last few steps...

After awaiting an email response from the National Visa Center, I finally mustered up the courage to call them. YAY! Rai's I600 approval was logged out on Monday, March 9th, which is also the day they sent the paperwork to the US Embassy in Korea. It should arrive in 1-2 weeks, and then the Embassy will send paperwork (called Packet 3 or P3) to the Korean agency stating that everything is ready on the US side. So this is what we have left:
- NVC Logged Out to P3: 1-2 weeks from March 9th (P3=Immigration paperwork is received by US Embassy in Korea and P3 is sent to Holt in Korea)
- P3 to VI: 4 days to a few weeks (VI=Visa Appointment)
- VI to TC: Same day to 3 days later depending on how long it takes to issue the visa

So IF P3 is sent on Monday, March 16th and IF it takes only a few days to schedule the Visa Appointment, we could theoretically get a travel call late next week which just so happens to be Spring Break. Oh that would be wonderful, but I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch. :-) There are several adoptive parents that have had hiccups along the way, so we will just be thankful whenever we do get our call.

And for those that have asked, yes, we will leave on the next plane out after our call. :-) So needless to say, our bags will be packed sometime next week. Yes, we know the airfare is not cheap, but it doesn't matter. Yes, there are travel agents (one in particular) that specialize in adoption travel, so we'll be in good hands. Thank you to everyone who is checking up on us and reading this blog. I'll do my best to keep the pictures updated as often as possible, and if all works well, we may even have videos up and ready when we get there.

What will we do until we get our call? Well, Aaron's mom will be in town tonight for a quilting show, and we leave Saturday morning for a wedding. Sunday, we have a soccer game, and next week, I plan to enjoy as much "free time" as I can over Spring Break. I will finally get caught up on laundry, edit the plentiful stack of videos, prep my classes in advance, and find time to work on my fieldwork from Japan. Aaron is now back to work and feeling better, and his honey-do list is finally complete with the installation of the cabinet locks in the kitchen last night. So although the wait seems endless, we certainly have plenty to keep us preoccupied!

Friday, March 6, 2009

National Visa Center Saves the Day!

This morning, the National Visa Center (NVC) responded to my plea to take the emailed I600 approval with a case number. We've been logged in! As soon as the approval is logged out, the final paperwork will be headed to Korea in preparation for Rai's Visa Interview! Woohoo!

Now back to folding tiny socks...

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Record Time for EP Approval!
Rai's Emigration Permit (EP) was submitted on February 11th and was approved only 6 days later on February 17th. I am still in shock since we were originally told 3-4 weeks for approvals (but hoped for 2 weeks). This is WONDERFUL NEWS!

A Little Backed Up on the US-Side of Things
The US-side of the adoption process has put us through an emotional roller-coaster. As you recall, the Dallas Adoption Immigration Office (USCIS) went at a snail's pace and their change of offices didn't help either. Rai's I600 application was approved on February 17th (same day as EP) BUT that approval sat on someone's desk until Monday morning. UGH! Normally, USCIS would mail (or better yet email) the approval to the National Visa Center (NVC) to be logged in and logged back out, nearly finishing the US-side of things. When NVC hadn't logged in Rai's I600 approval last Friday, the operator asked that I verify when USCIS sent the approval. First thing Monday, USCIS emails a reply stating that they only send out approvals every few days, but it was sent March 2nd (the day they received my email, of course). Luckily, another adoptive mom learned that NVC will allow adoptive parents to email their I600 approvals for faster processing. I emailed ours on Wednesday and will keep our fingers crossed until they respond with updates.

To make a long story short...
As soon as NVC logs in and logs out Rai's I600 approval, we can begin calling the last office (DC) to receive updates on the final steps: Packet 3 (sent to Korean agency), Visa Interview, Visa Issued, Travel Call! (Actually, Holt makes the Travel Call but you get the drift...)

Updates on Rai
Poor little Rai was in the hospital with pneumonia for one week in February, which is really rough for a guy who still only weighs 20.9 pounds. We're hoping he feels better now and are sending our long distance hugs and kisses!

Back Home
For a while after the baby shower, Rai's room looked like Toys R Us blew up, but it is finally starting to come together. My friend, Heather, and I went on one last shopping spree and wiped off most of the registry, so this weekend is the weekend to finish up the room and baby-proof the house! I have to admit that it is a strange feeling to see diaper caddies and itty-bitty socks around the house. Speaking of baby socks, I've never had so much fun folding laundry! We have no idea what size shoe or socks Rai wears, but the 6-12 mo socks are SO little! Considering Rai weighs less than 21 pounds, they may just fit, but I bought one size larger just in case.

As for the two of us, the flu bug finally hit our house, so we've nearly lost a week. I was sick with the flu and bronchitis from Saturday through Wednesday, and although I feel better, my voice hasn't returned. (Not that Aaron is complaining...) Aaron just knew he wouldn't get sick even though our family doctor prescribed him flu medication to be on the safe side. Luckily, I talked him into taking it earlier this week because he came home sick from work today. Poor guy. At least we'll be over this before we travel. Poor Rai can't get sick again so soon. :-(

I think that sums up everything so far. I'll post pictures next week when Rai's room is finished and we're all feeling a little better!