So it has been a little while since an update has happened on this blog, but there has been a lot of “baby steps” happening behind the scenes.
Since we received Hard Copy LOA (Letter of Acceptance) via email on February 8th, we had to send in paperwork for our i-800 Immigration Application and our third program fee to our agency before the next steps in the process. Once you submit the i-800 application, it takes a couple of weeks to receive approval on that. We got the hard copy LOA in the mail on February 17th, signed and sent it back to our agency ASAP.
We made use of the waiting period by working on getting some clothes for Mia. In a local online Facebook sale group, I found a girl selling nice 2T clothing. I was able to get 90 pieces for $30! When I brought them home, I was impressed by the quality of them and the boys had a wonderful time helping me sort and wash them all. These guys are AMAZING big brothers and cannot wait for their sister to come home!
This began the process of moving Camden into Owen’s room. It took a while to go through all of their clothes, sort out what no longer fit, and making space for everything in one room instead of two.
Along with this, came a project I had been hoping to do since we moved into this house three years ago. I asked a running friend, Chris, if he would consider making a top twin-sized bunk over Owen’s queen-sized bed for Camden. I knew he had done great wood-working projects before, but he had never done a bunk before. He came out and measured and said he would give it a try. What he came back with was simply BEAUTIFUL. He literally took my ideas and made them into a perfect masterpiece for our boys. They are just THRILLED with their new bunk!
February 24th we received an e-mail stating that our i-800 application was APPROVED! Woohoo! One more step closer!!! This meant that we would wait just a few more days to receive a GUZ# for our DS-260 application. More paperwork, more hurry up and wait, but every approval is an open door from God and we celebrate every single step to Mia!!
It was only 3 days later (February 27th) that we received the hard copy of our i-800, which is called a Provisional Approval, or PA. We also got our GUZ# and started the process of filling out visa applications for John and I to travel to China.
March 2nd was filled with paperwork, looking up everything I needed to send to the visa
applications to the courier, and filing the DS-260 online. Our visas need to go to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., so we enlisted the help of the same courier who processed our dossier in the final stages, back in the fall. This will speed up the time frame and make sure that our visas are processed properly. As long as we have them in hand before we travel, we will be good. I drove to the FedEx center near the Huntington airport and double-triple checked everything going out. ONE MORE STEP!
Now, we wait for an update on our sweet girl. We were given the opportunity to submit five questions about her and hopefully those questions will be answered and maybe even an updated picture!
This past weekend, we had the HONOR of participating in a video shoot for Show Hope. This was the organization that I ran for, and the organization that we have been supporting for years as sponsors. We have been selected to be one of the families featured in their April fundraising campaign. This also means that we should be able to receive a grant, but the amount will be based on that campaign. It is an amazing blessing to be involved in this. (I wish I had pictures of the process, but I think I was just too excited!)
They interviewed the boys first, and they definitely added some comedy into the day. Camden is more concerned about telling everyone about his birthday and color-change cars than talking about his sister. However, he surprisingly had more to say than Owen! Both of them are really excited to bring her home and love on her like crazy. They were silly and sweet and did a pretty good job for a 5 and 7 year old!
When John and I were asked questions about our process and our daughter, it was hard to hold back my emotions. My dream is coming true after 21 years. It is simply amazing. I really enjoyed hearing John’s perspective, too. He is the kind of person who doesn’t talk too much, but when he does, you want to listen. He expressed his love for Mia in a way that is hard to explain. I cannot wait to see them together!
I will be so excited to see what Show Hope does with the footage that they got that day. It was a great experience and I hope that what we said will spur others on to donate to this amazing organization. My long-term goal is to be able to support them in a bigger capacity through my business as a health and fitness coach.
So….What is the next step in the process? Article 5. Article 5 is the confirmation of DS-260 and GUZ# receipt. So once it is dropped off, it is a 10 day wait unless a holiday is in between. Once Article 5 is picked up, we wait for travel approval (TA). Travel Approval is taking about two weeks or less. Travel Approval will tell us when we can go and we will book our arrangements at that time! WOOHOO!!!!
Keep praying for our sweet girl!
Pray for the finances to come through.
Pray for wisdom.
Pray for bonding when we get there.
Pray for our boys as we will be gone about 16 days from them, and pray God prepares their hearts for their little sister.
Pray for John’s mom as she cares for our boys and is away from her home for so long.
Pray that our family has a smooth transition and reflects Christ through all that we do.