Feb 27, 2007

Out of our hands now....

Well, it's off! Michael just got back from dropping off our dossier at FedEx! It is officially on it's way to CCAI, just two months, one week and one day after we started paperchasing. Yahoo!!!

Yesterday we got our I-171H back from the courier in DC. I was anxious to get the rest of our documents back and was stalking the USPS website to see if our Express Mail package had gotten logged in. We went to bed last night with no sign of our package, so I figured it would be another day.

Then, this morning around 10am Michael called and said "It's here!". I couldn't believe it, but he had our package in his hands!

So, we ordered dinner in and I made copies and gathered everything together while Michael printed out some additional passport photos to include. We put everything together and took it down to the FedEx dropoff before their final pickup of the night. It's headed to CCAI's office in Atlanta, so it doesn't have very far to go. They should get it first thing in the morning and start the critical review process. After critical review they will translate it and then send it to the CCAA in Beijing. All this should hopefully take about 2 weeks.

Ever wonder what an entire dossier looks like at this point? Here's what we sent off...
And here's the all important FedEx box that Michael just dropped off.
I had to say a little prayer as I put everything in the box, I remember doing that with our dossier for Cackie and it worked then so it can't hurt now!
I'll update soon, hopfully we'll be DTC (dossier to China) ASAP!

Feb 22, 2007

Busy week

It has been a busy week. On Monday, Michael had our I-171H notarized and he took it to the County Clerk’s office for authentication. I was gathering everything together that evening when I realized that the Clerk’s authentication was dated on the 18th, but the notary was the 19th. That will not fly with China and I freaked out!
So, I had Tuesday off to take care of the I-171H. We had a bunch of stuff to take care of… Michael got the oil changed on my car, I got a money order for the Chinese Embassy at the Post Office and then I took the I-171H back to the County Clerk’s office to get their authentication fixed. After some frustrating moments with an incompetent employee at the Clerk’s office I was able to get everything loaded up and Cackie and I headed to Nashville.
We made it to Nashville in record time… and within minutes our I-171H was Secretary of State authenticated! We then found a FedEx box and sent the I-171H to a courier in DC who will take it to the State Dept and then on to the Chinese Embassy.
After that was done, Cackie & I headed to OpryMills where we were meeting my parents. We had a late lunch at the Rainforest Café and then wandered the mall for a while. Cackie enjoyed the time with her LaoLao & LaoYe. I think they enjoyed it too!
So, if timing is right, we should be getting all our documents back by Monday… Tuesday at the latest! This weekend is all about finishing up our pictures and getting ready to send off our dossier! We have a wonderful bottle of Champagne that just needs a special occasion… I think completing our dossier in less than 2.5 months is a perfect occasion!
Stay tuned, we’ll have a DTC date soon!

Feb 19, 2007

Chinese New Year Facts

I'm trying to learn more about Chinese culture & traditions. This is something that I really enjoy and I want to be able to share with my daughters without having to say... "wait a second, let me go Google that..."
So, I figure it's a good time to learn more about Chinese New Year. I'll try to post what I learn here.
Here's the first tidbit... from http://www.educ.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/438/CHINA/chinese_new_year.html

Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the new year is called the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade.
The Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. The lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. In order to "catch up" with the solar calendar the Chinese insert an extra month once every few years (seven years out of a 19-yearcycle). This is the same as adding an extra day on leap year. This is why, according to the solar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year.
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. The celebration was traditionally highlighted with a religious ceremony given in honor of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and the family ancestors.
The sacrifice to the ancestors, the most vital of all the rituals, united the living members with those who had passed away. Departed relatives are remembered with great respect because they were responsible for laying the foundations for the fortune and glory of the family.
The presence of the ancestors is acknowledged on New Year's Eve with a dinner arranged for them at the family banquet table. The spirits of the ancestors, together with the living, celebrate the onset of the New Year as one great community. The communal feast called "surrounding the stove" or weilu. It symbolizes family unity and honors the past and present generations.

Feb 18, 2007

Happy New Year!

It's the year of the Boar (or the Golden Pig), a lucky year in China!
It's getting late, but I wanted to share these with everyone.

On Friday I got an email that my mom was sending a package our way. I knew that she was working on some presents for Chinese New Year and I just figured they were for Cackie.
I was surprised when I opened them up and they were for me!
Here's the beautiful bracelet & earrings that mom made for me...

And, here's the coins tied with red thread that should bring wealth. We've hung these by the front door...

Mom sent me a detailed meaning of the coins and the knots, but as I said it's getting late and I need my beauty sleep! So, I'll try to post the meaning of everything in the next day or so!

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Great News!

Wow, what a week it was!

On Friday the 9th we woke up to icy roads in Memphis. Not everything stopped (amazingly) but the overpasses on the interstates were pretty icy, so the FedEx truck couldn't get from the airport to the distribution station. So, we didn't end up getting the package from the State Department until Monday.

But, the good news is that my birth certificate came from NY at the same time! That was a great surprise, I hadn't even stalked the FedEx website to see if the package was on it's way, lol!

So, I got everything ready on Tuesday and sent a huge package off to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC. My timing wasn't so great because they had a bunch of nasty weather and the package wasn't delivered until Friday. No worries, right??! We're in no rush, right??!

Surprise... surprise... our I-171H came in the mail on Friday! We were totally shocked! We weren't expecting it for at least another 2 weeks!

Don't believe me? Well, here it is....
(sorry, I blurred it since it's such an official document)
So, now I need to move fast and get the I-171H through all the authentication steps ASAP. Hopefully the rest of our documents will come in from the Embassy about the same time as the I-171H and then we can send them all to our agency together. Wow! How exciting! We are soo happy to be almost done! Less than 2 months into the paperchase and we're almost at the finish line! Yahoo!

Feb 8, 2007

Another package on its way!

Yay! I just checked FedEx and found out that our docs are being sent back from the State Dept.
Guess we need to get that money order for the Chinese Embassy quick so that we can get the stuff to them.
Yahoo! Now we're waiting to see if something comes back from the NY Consulate...
3 weeks ago today we were fingerprinted... 3 to 5 more weeks to go?

Feb 7, 2007

Houston we have liftoff...

Whoo hooo! Michael's birth certificate has been picked up by FedEx at the Chinese Consulate in Houston. They received it on 2/1/07 and their website says to allow 15 days for turnaround. One week is just dandy with me!
This is great news. We'll be able to have our first document to CCAI by the end of the week :-)
Plus, there's still a chance that either of our other packages (NY & DC) will be on their way home t0day.
Happy Birthday Michael! Your birth certificate is on it's way home!

Feb 6, 2007

Latest News

CCAI received 81 referrals last week for LID 9/28 - 10/13/05! Wow, a far cry from the 141 that were in Cackie's referral batch. But, it does show that the CCAA is at least moving along.

We're still waiting on our I-171H. This Thursday it will be 3 weeks since fingerprinting and I figure Friday should be 3 weeks since they received our homestudy. How much longer? Don't know right now. I know of a number of other people who are waiting on the Memphis office and were fingerprinted about the same time. Hopefully there will be a mass explosion of I-171H receipts and not a backlog.

Last week I sent off my birth certificate to the Chinese Consultate in NYC and Michael's birth certificate to the consulate in Houston. They should take between 15 & 20 days to get back to us. From that point those documents will be complete and I can send them to CCAI.

The other 10 documents that we currently have are at the US State Department in Washington, DC. Once I recieve those back I will turn them back around to the Chinese Embassy in DC. The State Dept has had them for a week now, so I'm hoping that they'll be returned today or tomorrow. Once we get those documents back from the Chinese Embassy they will be complete and ready to send to CCAI.

Then we will just need to rush the I-171H through the whole process and our dossier will be complete!

This weekend we are going to sit down and gather pictures and figure out how many more we need. Honestly that is the worst part of the dossier to me. We have to have 11 pictures with Michael & I both in them. That's hard to do!

On a personal level we have been blessed with our new puppies. Yes, puppies! We went to pick out our new guy and couldn't decide between the two that were left. The breeder made us a deal for both of them, so now we have two adorable Welsh Terriers! Jackson & Bruno are taking up quite a bit of time, but they are a lot of fun as well. Cackie really loves her puppies, except when they wake her up in the morning and when Bruno attacks her blanket!

I guess that's about it for now. I'll update when more info becomes available.

Feb 2, 2007

Ladybug Alert

Well, we're not even DTC yet but when refferals come I still celebrate. The CCAA is moving slowly, but surely. This from the CCAA's website...