Friday, December 21, 2007
May God bless you all during this Christmas season.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
That's right, the rabbit died! I can't believe it and neither can Dwaine! Can you tell I'm a little excited?! I'm using a lot of exclamation points! I just found out for sure today because I had a blood test yesterday. I am about 5 weeks along and should be due around the middle of August. That will be a hot one for sure!
After two doctors told us that pregnancy was not possible for us, the miracle of all miracles happened. It truly is a miracle. I do believe that for sure. I never dreamed it would be possible. We are still going through with our adoption, we will have two children just like we wanted in the first place. They will be about the same age.
Now the next news which I have just been cleared to tell you all is that my brother is expecting also. Stacy is pregnant and is due in May. Our children will be about 3 months apart. That is the coolest thing ever and I can't help but think how excited our parents would be if they were here. They would be grandparents from both children at the same time. I wish they were here.
Well, I have more people to tell so I need to get going, I will keep you posted...
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Here are the things I am thankful for in no particular order:
- My health - mostly because I am getting a little older now and think about this a lot.
- My husband - because he is the highlight of my life. We truly came to be together through what I believe is divine intervention. God brought us to the same place and it was only through luck, really that we came to meet. Who else could have brought him to Columbia Missouri from Oklahoma of all places!
- My family - my brother first of all and then my aunts and uncles and cousins. I am also thankful for the time I had with my parents. I had really great parents and even though they were taken from me too soon, I am grateful for the time that we were together.
- My new family - this would include David, Ryan, Carrie and Dwaine's family who have taken me in as one of their own.
- My wonderful friends - you all know who you are. Thank you for being my friends because without you, I would not be where I am today, I am sure of that.
Those are the main things I am thankful for. Happy Belated Thanksgiving.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I know it has been a really long time since I posted last. I have promised to tell you all about our "mystery trip". Some time ago, I set up a vacation for us to celebrate Dwaine's 50th birthday. He knew that we were going but he had no idea where we were going. I even packed his suitcase for him. We got up to leave very early on the morning of Nov. 8 and headed to Kansas City to the airport. When we checked our bags, the lady at the ticket counter asked us where we were going and of course I had to tell her. That's when Dwaine found out that we were headed to San Francisco. I had planned on staying there a couple of days and then driving up to Napa valley to stay at a B&B there. We rented a car also and my brother let me borrow his GPS. Let me just make a side note here. That thing is the best device EVER created for mankind!!! I LOVE IT!!
Anyway, we stayed at the Holiday Inn at Fisherman's Wharf. It was a great hotel and right on the wharf. San Francisco is small enough that you can walk pretty much anywhere which is what we did. The first day we wandered around the wharf and went to Ghiradelli Square. We walked through Little Italy and up to China Town. We walked all the way through China town to the main gate.
Dwaine has become quite the expert with chopsticks!
Kelley & Dwaine
Monday, October 29, 2007
Ryan is getting ready for Halloween. He has his costume all ready to go. He says this year he is dressing up as a pimp. Great. We are trying to bring him up in a stable Catholic household and he is dressing up as a pimp. Somewhere, I think that something has gone terribly wrong!
Chris has only 6 weeks left of the police academy then he will be finished. He is looking for a job and applying anywhere he can. I think that he and Stacy will eventually get married. She is a really nice girl and I am glad they get along so well together. They make a really cute couple. He has changed a lot since they have been dating. I can just see little changes. They are good changes.
We made a flying trip to St. Louis a couple of weeks ago to visit Dwaine's sister, Patti. Dwaine's niece, Sarah was visiting Patti and it was nice to see them. We went to Forrest Park and rode in the paddle boats. We had a nice visit.
Dwaine's family is coming here this weekend to visit David. His folks will be up on Friday and will be staying until Monday. I am sure there will be a few more here visiting before the weekend is over also.
Next week is our mystery vacation! I can't wait to go. Dwaine still doesn't know where we are going. I have the trip all mapped out complete with planned activities. As soon as we get back, I will let you know how it went.
I feel like I am supposed to keep everyone up to date about the adoption. There just isn't much to tell. We have been logged in over 8 months now. China finally finished matching all of the people who were logged in in November of 2005. That tells you where we are in the process. This month, referrals will start coming in from December of 2005. Hopefully it will start picking up now. November was a huge month for referrals. December isn't supposed to be as large. Either way, we still have a ways to go.
Now, this brings me to my next subject - quilt squares. You know you can do it! Summer is over now and we are all settling in for winter? Don't you need a nice winter project? How about making a quilt square for Ryleigh's quilt? You remember how to do it? Cut one 8x8" square of cotton fabric. Make sure it reflects who you are. Write a wish for Ryleigh on a note card and staple a small piece of the same fabric to the card. Send it to me. If you need help or more info, e-mail me. I only have about 40 squares so far. I need 100 all together to make the quilt.
Ok, that's it for now. Have a wonderful Halloween!
Monday, October 15, 2007
Kelley's last posting was on the day of her birthday. That evening, late in the day of her second annual 39th birthday, she was a greeted with a surprise birthday party. About 18 friends and family had gathered at a local restaurant, and when the two of us showed, gave her a nice send-off into her fourth decade. Of course, she is now acting a lot older than she did that evening. Needless to say, she slept well that night (notice the glass of blue tidy bowl).
David will be arriving back home this Tuesday night. He will be home for four weeks before shipping out to South Korea. He will be stationed at Camp Walker, South Korea, for at least the next 12 months. We are sad about him going so far away, but very happy that he is not going to be stationed in Iraq.
Ryan's band is heavily into band competitions at the moment. They are in the middle of a span where they compete in band competitions on 4 out of 5 Saturdays. No time for sleep-in-Saturdays for him.
Chris is doing real well in the academy. He will be testing near Kansas City this weekend.
Carrie, too, is doing real well in all of her endeavors. She is enjoying this year much more than last. She is especially happy with her new living conditions. Her new roommates and apartment are much more to her liking.
No trouble, it seems, in keeping busy while waiting for Ryleigh. It doesn't do a lot to limit our frustrations, but it does make the time go faster.
Friday, October 5, 2007
And here is a picture of Iris. She is a sweet dog.
Today is my birthday. The big 4-0. I can't believe I'm 40. I don't feel 40. I don't really want to be 40. I think back to when I was in college and realize that it was half of my lifetime ago. I can't believe it. One of my best friends from college passed through Columbia last week and we met him out for dinner. I haven't seen him in years. We talked about our college days as if they happened a couple of years ago. Now we are 40. Man, that is huge! I am old! The only good thing is that Dwaine will be 50 in a couple of weeks. That makes me not feel quite so old....
Friday, September 28, 2007
First and foremost, we have been trying to get my dad's house ready for sale. That has involved some travel to Quincy on the weekends and it isn't finished yet. That has been a big project and even more so trying to do it long distance. We are doing some sprucing up before the sale and just trying to go through and get rid of stuff and sort out what we want to keep.
Chris has settled in here and is really liking the police acadamy. He has done well so far and he has been at it about a month now. We are taking care of his dog while he is in school. They don't allow pets where he lives of course. The dog and I get along for the most part. He has his off days where he likes to dig and chew on stuff that doesn't belong to him. Sometimes I think he is mentally challenged. His name is Bosco and I don't really know if he actually knows what his name really is. He has been called many other things besides that - for instance, Bozo, stupid, dumb sh*^, jerk wad, butt head, etc. I have been taking him to doggie classes and he has really done well at that. He minds much better and it can actually be a pleasure to take him for a walk now. I walk him, not vice versa. It used to be the other way around.
David came home for Labor Day weekend. He is doing great! He will be home in a few weeks and will be here until Dec. We will be looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. All of my family will be here. It will be great! The only one we will be missing is Carrie. I wish she could come home for every holiday.
Dwaine and I are planning a trip to celebrate our birthdays. He will be the big 5-0 in Nov. and I will be the big 4-0 next week. I can't tell you where we are going yet because I am surprising Dwaine with the place. I booked it today and can't wait to go. It is going to be a lot of fun. We will be gone from Nov. 8 to the 13th. I will keep you posted on the mystery trip...
We are both off from work next week too. Dwaine is planning on building some fence in the back yard. Wish us luck on that. I hope to do a little work around the house myself and want to plant some mums and maybe some bulbs for next Spring. We are going to do some fun things next week too since it is my birthday. We are going to the pub crawl and maybe to the Octoberfest next weekend.
Well, I just wanted to touch base with you all and let you know that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. We are doing well, hope you are too.
Love to all,
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Chris is moving to Columbia next weekend. He will be in the police acadamy until Christmas. Then, we are trying to talk him into staying here and finding a job in good ol' Columbia. That would be so great to have family who actually lives in the same town for once. That hasn't happened since I lived in Quincy. We are meeting with a realtor next week to get dad's house ready for sale. Hopefully that will go smoothly. Please keep us in your prayers for that reason. Sometimes things like that overwhelm me. Mostly because I let them. Anyway, please say a prayer that the house sells quickly and for what we are asking for it.
I have deeded the house in Chris' name so when the house does sell, he will have a great down payment for a new house when he is finished with school. The price of real estate in Columbia is very reasonable. (That's a big hint to my bro')
Well, I am rambling on now and am really tired. Time for me to go to bed. Hello to you all and hope you are doing really well. Thanks for the comments in the last post. (I love to read them)
Monday, August 20, 2007
5 THINGS I WAS DOING 5 YEARS AGO (10 years was not a good place in my life)
- I had moved into my own home that I bought by myself. My condo I loved.
- Living the single life and spending a lot of time with friends
- Made a trip to San Francisco to visit family and friends.
- Worked 2 jobs. The job I work at now and a part time job and Columbia Regional Hospital
- Did not know my husband yet.
FIVE SNACKS I ENJOY this one's easy.
- Chips (any kind)
- Chocolate (any kind)
- Movie popcorn
- Ice cream
5 SONGS I KNOW THE LYRICS TO
- My highschool fight song. (amazing because I graduated over 20 years ago)
- My college fight song. (I think I can remember the words)
- All of the songs that were in my wedding
- The words to "Oklahoma" (my husband and his sons will get a kick out of that one)
- "I can't help myself" by the Four Tops. I have it programmed in my phone as Dwaine's ringtone.
5 THINGS I WOULD DO IF I WERE A MILLIONAIRE
- I would make sure my little brother was set for life.
- I would donate money to our church.
- I would make sure all of Dwaine's kids were set for life.
- I would buy a completely frivolous car that would make people think I were going through a mid-life crisis.
- We would both retire so we could raise our daughter by ourselves without the need for daycare.
5 BAD HABITS
- I am completely OCD about keeping the house clean.
- I am too anxious and worry about a lot of things that I shouldn't worry about.
- I chew on my fingernails when I am nervous.
- I make excuses not to work out.
- Obsessing over how long the wait will be with our adoption.
5 THINGS I LOVE TO DO
- Go to the movies with Dwaine.
- Go out to eat with Dwaine.
- Go on vacation and travel with Dwaine.
- Go for coffee with Dwaine
- Anything else having to do with Dwaine.
5 THINGS I WOULD NEVER WEAR AGAIN
- My hair permed!!! How awful, someone should have told me...
- Polyester pants. That should tell you how old I am.
- A belly button ring. Yeah, yeah, I had one. Now I have a gut instead so I don't think I will be wearing one of those again.
- Anything spandex.
- Anything that has a 70's look. I hated it in the 70's so why would I want to wear it again.
5 OF MY FAVORITE TOYS
- My ipod. I really love that thing.
- My brother's GPS. We bought it for him for Christmas and that thing is the coolest thing ever!
- My dogs. Does that count as two things?
- Our lawnmower. I know that sounds really lame but we got a new one and I like to mow.
- My computer. It is so amazing what technology has become.
There ya go. That took a lot of thought. I think I will tag Shelby, Marcy and Tamara D.
Have a good week, everyone.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Well, here's the latest on the Gelnar homefront......
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Here's the latest update on our family.... David graduated from basic training yesterday!! HOORAY! What an accomplishment that is! We are so very proud of him. Also, today is his 26th birthday. Happy birthday, David! Dwaine and Ryan drove to South Carolina to his graduation and they are taking him to Maryland for his next round of training. This won't be anything nearly as demanding as basic training. He will graduate in October. I was unable to go to this graduation due to work conflicts. I am planning on going to the next graduation, though.
Ryan is off to band camp next week. That lasts for two weeks and then it will almost be time to start back to school. This summer has flown by! He hasn't had a whole lot of free time this summer due to summer school and now band camp. He has kept really busy. That is good for him, though.
Chris will be moving to Columbia to start police academy here at the university. He will be here until Christmas time. I am looking forward to him being here and I hope he decides to move here or somewhere close to Columbia. He has found an apartment and will be moving here around Labor Day weekend.
We are getting ready to sell my childhood home. Since Chris is not planning on coming back to Quincy, we are going to put the house on the market. That is a tremendously difficult thing to see happen. I grew up there and did not know any other home besides that one. There are a ton of memories that come flooding back when I think about that house and all of the wonderful holidays and events that took place there. It is also the house where both of my parents spent their last days on this earth. It is a sacred place for me. It was the place I could run to when things weren't going so well here. Anytime I needed to, I could always go home. I still call it my home even though I live here now and have lived here for 20 years. I have lived here longer than I lived in Quincy but 908 Locust is still home.
On a lighter note, I am putting out a plea for more quilt squares. So far I have 30 something. I need 100 in all. So if you would still like to participate, please send an 8x8 square of 100% cotton material and enclose a postcard with a wish for Ryleigh. Also, please attach a small sample of the material to the postcard because those will go into a scrapbook.
Here's an example:
This is from my friend Heather in PA. The wish says: "A girl's got to have a lot of class and a little flash! Have fun with life!"
You get the idea. You can write anything you want just as long as it represents you in some way. I'm looking forward to putting them together. So keep 'em coming in!
Have a great week everyone!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
It has been too long since I've written. We have been really, really busy. My aunt and uncle (Mary & Jim) came to visit us two weeks ago. We had a really nice visit and went shopping and out to dinner. We really enjoyed them coming to visit. We celebrated Mary's birthday while they were here.
Last weekend, we went to New Jersey. We left on Wed. and came back on Sunday (Father's Day) Carrie was in the Miss New Jersey pageant. We are soooooo proud of her. She didn't place this year like she did last year but it seems like none of the girls who placed last year went to the top 10 this year. However, we thought she did so much better this year than last. Also her vocal skills just keep getting better and better. She sang opera. Don't ask me the name of the piece because I don't know what it was and it wasn't in English but it was beautiful anyway. The weather was nice and cool while we were there and we walked along the boardwalk every day we were there. Patti and Kathy went also. We had a nice visit with them also. This year's visit to New Jersey was a lot less hectic than last year's visit. We stayed in Ocean City this year where the pageant was being held. Last year we stayed in Absecon which is a 30 minute drive from O.C. That was a real pain.
We also met up with another couple from my Yahoo! online adoption group. Heather and Paul Peters. They live in Philly and were kind enough to meet us close to where we were staying. We had a really nice lunch with them and we exchanged gifts for our daughters. I got Heather a small ladybug purse for her baby and a quilt square for her 100 good wishes quilt. She got Ryleigh a Mulan Barbie which, I understand, are difficult to find. I have started a small collection of things that I have either bought or received for Ryleigh. I don't like to buy things because for whatever reason, I feel like I will jinx the whole adoption process. Sounds goofy, I know but I have nightmares of buying baby clothes and furniture and supplies and setting up a nursery and then something bad happens and for whatever reason the adoption doesn't go through. Crazy, but that's me I guess.
We got back on Father's Day and came home to a mess. Our a.c. went out while we were gone and the moles had declared war on our yard. The grass was knee high and my outdoor potted plants were fried from the heat even though Ryan and Chris had watered them. So Father's Day turned out to be a home improvement day. We celebrated Father's Day on Monday and also Ryan's birthday. He is 16 now. Chris stayed with him while we were gone and took him out for his birthday on Thursday eve. Chris is trying to make a man out of Ryan I suppose because he took him to Hooter's. Needless to say, the waitress made him get up in front of everyone and embarrassed him quite a lot! I wish he had taken pictures because it sounded like it was really funny.
Carrie came home on Thursday this week and we have been enjoying her visit. She will be here until July 3rd. I am taking her for a spa day on Wednesday so we can bond and be pampered.
David is doing really well in basic training. He calls us once a week and he sounds so upbeat. He seems really proud of what he is doing and he has accomplished a lot so far. He graduates from basic training at the end of July. I am really proud of him too.
So life here at the Gelnar's has been really good lately. I am really grateful for all of the wonderful things we have been blessed with. I am mostly grateful for my family. I hope you are all doing well. I will have a little more time to update my blog here in a couple of weeks and I will try to include more pictures.
So until later,
We love you all - Kelley & Dwaine
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Here's the latest from the Gelnar house.
We did celebrate our third month anniversary since LID. 3 down ? more to go. Still waiting. We did get the mysterious "Brown Envelope" in the mail yesterday. This envelope contains more paperwork (imagine that) to fill out for our visas when we go to China. Apparently it isn't anything we need to fill out until we get there. The thing I think is neat is that at least someone in China recognizes the fact that we are waiting for a child and they have sent us paperwork to acknowledge that fact.
I have posted a couple more pictures of some really cute quilt squares I have gotten in the mail recently. I have 20 so far. I just need 80 more. Start sending those squares everybody! Chris is working on his. I think that's really cool that he wants to participate. I have my squares ready to mail out to my group. The cards to go with them turned out really great. Dwaine wrote a poem to go on the card. He wants to be a part of this as much as I do. It is really great that he is taking such an active role in the whole process. Not only did he help with the initial paperwork, he is participating in little things like the quilt square exchange also. He is the greatest husband ever!
Another family update... We have heard from David twice now. He has been in basic training for almost 2 weeks. He injured his knee on the very first day. He is wearing a knee brace but he says it is doing fine. He also had an injury to his arm which got infected and he had to spend the night in the hospital to treat it. His spirits seem to be really good and he says that it is actually getting a little easier. I am sure they are working very hard. He only has about 5 minutes to talk to us once a week. He has alternated calling Dwaine and his mom too. We are sending him letters making sure he has mail when they have mail call.
Ryan is out of school next week. He is starting summer school shortly after that. His birthday is June 16 and he will be 16. We are going to give him my car to drive but not until next year. That means I get a new car!! How great is that! I am looking to get something large enough to fit a baby seat in the back.
We are headed to New Jersey in about 10 days to see Carrie in the Miss New Jersey pageant. We are looking forward to that and I will post pics of her and give you all an update on how she does. We are proud of her no matter what.
Well, that's all for now. Hope you are all happy and well. Until later...
Kelley & Dwaine
Monday, May 21, 2007
Next reason I don't like Mother's Day. My mom is gone. Every Mother's Day, I sit at mass on that Sunday Mother's Day morning and cry my eyes out. I hate it. I don't have my own mom here anymore and I am not technically a mom either. Those are the reasons I don't like Mother's Day.
Now, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, that is not my intention. I am simply stating a fact. Here's the good part. Mother's Day is meaning more to me now than ever. Especially this last one. After my Sunday morning church crying session, Ryan and I spent the day together here at home. His mom picked him up later in the day to spend some time with him. I always have a good time with Ryan, he is a hoot! Next, Dwaine came home from being in New Jersey for the weekend. He always makes a big deal for me on Mother's Day but this one was really special. He got me a card and signed it from Ryleigh. It was a mommy to be card and that made me cry too. The next day, the boys gave me a really sweet card for Mother's Day. That made me cry too! One week later, my cool secret pal from my Yahoo! group sent me a tiny little t-shirt for Ryleigh and a lady bug magnet and some information about Panda bears. That made me cry too. I haven't bought one thing for the baby yet. Mostly because she doesn't seem real to me. The little t-shirt gave me something tangible to help me realize that there is going to be a tiny little girl to fill that tiny little t-shirt. Now with all of these things, I am starting to feel more like a mommy and more like someone who has influenced the lives of Dwaine's kids too. I am truly blessed to be where I am in my life. I would not trade it for the world.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
- Choose any 100% cotton fabric (not flannel). The fabric can have some significant meaning for you or it can just be something you like. Prewashing is preferred but not required. Cut an 8x8 inch square from the fabric.
- Write a wish for Ryleigh on a post-card or note card. The wish can be handwritten or typed. It can be a hope for her, thoughts on the adoption, a poem, verse, saying, advice or anything meaningful. Please sign you name.
- You also will need to cut a smaller piece of the fabric. (1 or 2 inches) and attach it to your notecard so that she will know who the fabric squares are from. We will match the wishes and the author of the card to the patches of the quilt. The notecards will go into a scrapbook.
The picture above is an example of a quilt square and wish. There is also an example of the finished quilt. If you have more than one person in your family who would like to participate, please feel free to send more than one quilt block and wish. We are trying to get 100 blocks all together so the more the merrier. Children are welcome to participate as well.
It is hard to wait for so long for our daughter so I am finding little projects like this one to keep me busy. I am not a quilter by any means, I will find someone to put it together for me.
Thanks in advance for participating. If you have questions about how it works, please e-mail me.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
That leads me into the next topic. Ryan is driving now. Not just driving us crazy either. Driving a vehicle. OOOHHHH, SCARY!! Actually, he does pretty well. He will be 16 in June and able to get his driver's license. He is driving on a permit now and can only drive if a parent or guardian is with him. Naturally, I don't want to deprive Dwaine of this monumental occasion so I am letting him do that. When I get a new car, we will give my Corolla to Ryan. I do love that car, though.
We are planning another trip to Jersey in June. Carrie is going to be in the Miss New Jersey pageant again this year. I am looking forward to the trip. We are staying in Ocean City, right by the ocean. I am really proud of Carrie. She has so much ambition and talent and she puts it all to good use. So, keep her in your prayers. Last year, she made the top 10, let's hope that this year she goes all the way to the top!
That is all for now, we have all been happy and healthy here. Hope you all are too.
Kelley & Dwaine
Saturday, April 21, 2007
I know I haven't posted for almost 2 weeks. There really hasn't been much to report. However, this week on the adoption front hasn't really been a great week. As of right now, those who are travelling to China to get their children have been waiting around 18 months. The wait has doubled just in the last year or so. China has a very reputable program and a lot of people want to adopt from China. Now with the great rush of dossiers heading to China, they can't hardly keep up. Also, their government is telling the world that there just aren't enough children be matched with the vast numbers of families who are applying there. The government only adopts out a certain percentage of children per year and there are a huge number of orphanages who are not open to foreign adoption. This means that the children who are not made available for adoption pretty much spend their lives in the orphanages there. Since the number of adoptive families wanting children is greatly increasing and the number of children being let out of the country is not, the predicted wait times for us is potentially 2 1/2 - 3 years. We have only been logged in for 2 months which means that we will more than likely have to wait another 28 months or so. The only thing that will help is if the Chinese government does something to speed up the process or make more children available for adoption.
Now I am thinking the worst. I just want a baby, if we have to wait that long, I will be 43 and Dwaine will be 53 before we get our daughter. If you think about that long term, Dwaine will be retired by the time she reaches high school. Another thing that I think about is the fact that we kind of wanted to adopt twice, if we have to wait that long, we will both be disqualified from adopting from pretty much any country because we will both be too old.
We are just asking for your prayers and support. Pray that the wait speeds up and that we will travel before we are both headed for the nursing home. I try not to be pessimistic but this week, I just can't really help it. I am still so grateful for the opportunity to adopt, I just wish it would be a better scenario. I keep thinking that if we could have our own children, we could have had a couple by then. Heck, we started our paperwork in August of last year, I could have had a baby by now already.
Thanks everyone for listening to me go on, I guess it is just part of the process. Thank you all for your prayers and support.
Kelley & Dwaine
Monday, April 9, 2007
Monday, April 2, 2007
I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.
I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.
Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.
Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.--- Unknown
Saturday, March 31, 2007
- First, you talk to a social worker and decide how you want to adopt. There are two options- domestic adoption and international adoption. We looked at both options. Believe it or not, we are really too old to qualify for domestic adoption. Most agencies seem to push open adoption or at least that seems to be the most common. Most couples must be in their 30's to adopt domestically. That is one reason we chose international. Once we chose international adoption, then we picked which country we wanted to adopt from. Most countries have different regulations and restrictions which you must meet. We chose China because we meet the age restrictions and also because their government's adoption policies are very regimented. No surprises or bribing of judges etc. They treat all adoptive parents equally. The babies are usually healthier and have more medical history than babies adopted from other countries. So we know we will more than likely adopt a healthy girl between the ages of 7 months to 24 months. That is what we qualify for.
- After we spoke with a social worker from Lutheran Family and Children Services (LFCS) here in town, they directed us to an agency which deals with Chinese adoptions. We chose Chinese Children Adoption International (CCAI). They deal only with Chinese adoptions and are very well known with the Chinese government. They will take care of the international comings and goings.
- Next we sent our application in to CCAI and were approved to be their clients. Now the real paperwork begins.
- We needed to compile our dossier (I think this is a French term for "butt-load of paperwork") which consists of many documents which all must be notarized, certified by the secretary of state where the document originated and then they must be authenticated by the Chinese consulate for our region (which is in Chicago). The documents we needed to get were birth certificates, marriage certificates, police clearance reports, passports, employment verification, an income statement, physical exams, an adoption petition and a home study which was done by our local agency, LFCS. The home study consists of a social worker inspecting every aspect of your lives from you income to your pet's vaccinations to your functioning smoke detectors in your home. They examine you through a magnifying glass. We also needed to apply for qualification from the US government to adopt an orphan from China and another background check and fingerprinting by the US dept. of immigration This form is called a I171-H. This is the golden ticket to the adoption process. Once we got this form, (which is a real pain because you have to deal with the US immigration office and believe me, they are not in any big hurry to accommodate you) then we sent all of these things to CCAI.
- CCAI takes everything from here. They check all of your documents to make sure they are worded properly and contain accurate information that the Chinese government will need. Once the dossier passes critical review then they translate all documents from English to Chinese. They send the dossier to China and once China receives the dossier, they log you in. This is the precious log-in-date or LID. This date puts us "in line" to receive our baby. There are many people who are logged in. They match children with the next adoptive parents who are "in line". So it is kind of first come, first serve in a way. There are not as many children available as there are dossiers that are logged in. Now, the wait from log in to match is about 18 months. We expect that as we continue on, the wait will get longer by the time we are matched with our daughter. We are probably looking at around a 2 year wait.
Here is our time-line so far:
- Our application was approved by CCAI 8/2/06
- Our dossier was finished and received by CCAI on 2/2/07 (yes, it takes that long to get the paperwork together)
- Our dossier was mailed to China on 2/6/07
- Our log in date or LID is 2/25/07
Now here is the kicker, you remember that I171-H? Well, that form has to be valid throughout the waiting period and our trip to China to pick up our daughter. The waiting period is going to be over 18 months. The I171-H expires 18 months after you receive it. So before we go to China, we will have to renew that form which means that we will have to be re-fingerprinted, update our home study and have another physical (and of course pay the government another fee for the form).
Our fingerprints expire on 2/9/08 and our I171-H expires 7/9/08. We will be travelling hopefully sometime toward the end of 2008.
This is our pregnancy period. No physical side effects but a lot more paperwork and hoops to jump through. I prefer to call it paper pregnancy. I don't have swollen ankles but I think I have carpal tunnel from all of the paperwork we have filled out.
Now you know how it works...
Thanks for checking out the blog.
By the way, we think we are going to change the spelling of Rileigh to Ryleigh. We are still playing around with the idea. What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know.
Kelley & Dwaine
Friday, March 30, 2007
We have the opportunity to pray and wait and plan and hope and dream and work for our child. Circumstances don't allow us to take our child for granted - ever. We do all these things for so long and at such great emotional cost, that when our child is finally in our arms, we truly cherish every minute. Every second...
We are blessed to be in our child's life. We are blessed that God planned for us to be a family, and that we were given the opportunities that brought us together. We get to see all the best parts of mankind in our wonderful children. All the goodness and potential and innocence and ambition and confidence and love. And what a beautiful sight that is...
We are blessed to have run this race. It is long and, very often, it is practically impossible to complete. But we run anyway, and believe in ourselves and our child enough to do the impossible. We run, knowing that at the end of this great race, a child is waiting for a chance at a wonderful life. And we get to be the ones to give her that life.
We are blessed that when our child laughs, we are the ones to hear it. And when our child cries, we are the ones she looks for. When our child feels pain or joy or accomplishment or excitement, she shares it with us.We are so blessed to have had the chance to see life from a different angle. To see that things don't always go as you planned them out in the 5th grade- but that better things are in store. To be part of the few who feel constantly misunderstood. To be one who always has to be on guard against the rude and ignorant comment. To feel the frustration of not having the perfect comeback to that comment until three hours later. Our kids can use those experiences and lessons we have learned. We are deeper, stronger, more compassionate people because of this journey. And the world our children live in is better because we have grown in these ways.
Our child is blessed. She is patted and hugged and nestled and rocked and kissed and squeezed and taught and tickled and corrected and praised. She is told of her value in God's eyes. She is certain of her value in our eyes. And she never wonders if she will be cared for tomorrow or the next day...she sleeps comfortably each night, safe in our care.
We should tell our children we are proud. We have saved and scrimped, prayed and begged, planned and schemed, worked and worried, and hoped endlessly for them. We have dedicated years of our lives to finding them and bringing them home to their forever family. And we have given our whole hearts to them even before we ever saw that precious face.Now that is love. And parents who adopt know all about that...
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Anyway, here you go.
No we don't have (our wives) belly's that get bigger by the minute.
No we don't have elbows, feet and little fists pounding our (wives) insides.
No we don't have ultrasound pictures showing us our child's development by the month.
But we are Moms (Dad's).
We are Moms (Dads) when we are getting to know our child in a country where no one speaks the same language as us.
We are Moms (Dads) the second they hand us our child in a hotel conference room.
We are Moms (Dads) when we are carefully packing medication, clothing and diapers for the child we haven't met yet.
We are Moms (Dads) when we receive the phone call that we have been matched with a baby and view the first picture of our little girl.
We are Moms (Dads) when we celebrate our LID.
We are Moms (Dads) when we are excited to FINALLY receive our I-171h or I-797c in the mail.
We are Moms (Dads) when we tirelessly collect, notarize, certify and authenticate every aspect of ourselves.
We are Moms (Dads) when a Social Worker inspects our home, and spends hours asking us about our personal lives.
We are Moms (Dads) when we make the decision to adopt.
We are Moms (Dads) the first time we even have a thought about that child who will someday be ours.
We are Moms (Dads) even though most of our friends and family around us don't understand why a piece of paper or a Fed Ex package is as exciting to us as an ultrasound, or a positive pregnancy test.
We are Moms (Dads) who are madly in love with a baby we have not met.
We are Moms (Dads) who excitedly check email, Yahoo Groups and Blogs everyday to share this experience with other's around the country and world who are doing it too.
We are Moms (Dads) that cry in front of our computer screens when we hear that someone is DTC, LID, has gotten a referral, is leaving for China, or has experienced Gotcha Day!
We are Moms (Dads) to some baby out there who may be in a foster home, an orphanage, in her birth mother's belly growing, or that hasn't even been conceived yet.
WE ARE MOMS (Dads)!!!
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
- Installing new kitchen cabinets
- Remodeling the basement and adding a bedroom downstairs where Ryan will sleep. We will also install a massive closet and a shower downstairs. The baby will stay in Ryan's old room
- Fixing up the baby's room (in pink of course)
- Travelling - which we all know you can't do very easily with a toddler.
- A lot of reading
- A lot of eating out
- A lot of dates on Saturday nights
- Going to movies other than those that have Disney themes
I figure there will be almost 2 years worth of time to take up while we are waiting. I have been doing a lot of reading about China and the culture. Very interesting. I have also met some new friends along the way. There are a few other couples that I have gotten to know on-line who are using the same agency and social worker we are using. We all also have log-in dates that are within 6 months of each other. I figure when we get back, our daughters will be the same age and maybe even attend the same school.
Also, since we have started this blog, if you haven't figured out by now, we are going to name her Rileigh. I thought Riley was too plain and some boys have that name also. I thought it might be a better name for a girl if we mix up the spelling a little bit. However Dwaine likes the spelling Ryleigh better. I think I agree. What do you all think? You can all vote on it.
Kelley & Dwaine
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Finally, we have been approved and provided a log-in-date. That is the official word from the Chinese government that they have received all of the necessary documents and placed us "in line" behind a vast sea of others who have been placed "in line" also. The minimum amount of time that we will be waiting will be at least 18 months but probably longer. So now we are in a holding pattern until we hear from China that it is time to go. We will travel to China to get our daughter and bring her home to us.
I look at it as being pregnant for the time it will take to have two children without the morning sickness, weight gain, swollen ankles, etc. No physical symptoms, just twice the wait.
Anyway, we will keep you posted on our journey and hopefully this will be a way for us to keep in contact while we are actually in China.
Kelley & Dwaine