Monday, April 30, 2007

Still no passports...

Well, here we are, less than two weeks away from traveling and still waiting on passports for my mom & niece, Claire. A friend of ours was going to go with us but at the last minute was unable to go. So Mom & Claire stepped up to the plate. But, if we don't have the passports in the next day or so, looks like Steve & I will be making the trip by ourselves. Not such a big deal until you throw a 4 year old & 3 year old into the mix. And that's before we get Caleb!! So, anyone have any tips for entertaining young kids on very looong flights? I'm just picturing the faces of the other passengers as we walk onto the plane! Boy, will they wish they had booked a different flight! In 2005, on our way back with Grace, she started screaming in Hong Kong & went for 10 hours straight. The woman sitting behind Steve finally lost it and stood up, smacked the back of his chair and stomped off muttering something in Hindi.

I'm picturing the same for this time, only adding Zach into the mix, commenting loudly on everyone around us, "Mommy, why did that woman hit the back of Daddy's chair? Is she rude?", and Caleb, the wild card. As you can imagine, it's a little stressful in the house right now. Hmm, sedate the kids...sedate ourselves? There's an idea...

Stephanie

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Midnight Musings

It’s after midnight and I’ve just finished uploading the slideshow and choosing the music for the site. I should be in bed but picking out all of these pictures and songs has made me a little emotional. In June Steve and I will celebrate our thirteenth anniversary and I’m just thinking how lucky I am. Lucky to have him as a husband. Lucky to have my children. And lucky to be here with them.

I’m so aware that me just being here is a miracle. I’ve had four extra years that I shouldn’t have had and I feel so blessed to be healthy now and to have spent them with my family, and now to be bringing another child home. I’m scared and excited at the same time but I know it will be all right. God got us through my Crohn’s diagnosis and this past year with Gracie, He’ll get us through this.

You know, you never think you’re strong enough to do something until you’re thrown into the middle of it and there you find strength you never knew you had. Some people look at the past four years we've had and are amazed we're still standing but I wouldn't trade them for the world. Everything we went through brought us to this moment and it's right where we're supposed to be.

Stephanie

Friday, April 27, 2007

Itinerary

Well we finally have our flights reserved. It's been a crazy week. Grace has been sick since Tuesday morning & we've been running around trying to book flights, get visas, call the passport office so that Mom & Claire can come with us--boy we hope so--and we haven't even started packing yet!

The one thing that we won't get to do that I really wanted to is see the orphanage. It's 8 hrs away by bus and even though we asked to see it, they said no.

Anyway, we leave on May 13, Mother's Day, and get to Guangzhou at 10:45pm on May 14.
Here's the rest of it:

May.14: Family Knipper arrive in Guangzhou on Flight NW9/22:45, transfer
to* *White Swan Hotel.

May 15: Free

May.16: At 14:00 go to the Civil Affairs to meet the child and sign the
adoption agreement.

May.17: At 09:00 go to the Civil Affairs for the adoption registration,
notarization in the morning.

May.18: Pick up the adoption certificate and apply the child’s passport.

May.19: Free.

May.20: Go to local department store to buy some daily necessities for
the child.

May.21: Visit the White Cloud Mountain.

May.22: Pearl River Cruise.

May.23: Medical and photo for the child.

Mar.24: Free.

May.25: Pick up passport.

May.26: Visit the Six Banyan Temple.

May.27-May.28: Free.

May.29: 9:00 am visa appointment at the U.S.Consulate.

May.30: At 16:00 pick up the visa in the afternoon.

May.31: Family Knipper leave Guangzhou for home on flight NW10/08:20,
transfer airport.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

TA!!!

Well, we finally recieved our TA (Travel Approval) this morning. Teri from our agency called & told us that we have to be in China on 5/15 (yikes! so soon!) and we'll get Caleb on 5/16. We will be in China until 5/31. Boy do we have a ton of stuff to do.

Stephanie

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Sad day, Good news

Today is the 6 year anniversary of my dad's death, always a hard day. I was talking to my mom a little while ago and we can't believe it's been this long. It seems like just yesterday that he was here with us. I think the hardest thing is that he never got to meet any of my children. He would have loved them all so much. Zach is so much like him that it's amazing to think they never met. Maybe we'll have another scientist in the family when he grows up, although he's still set on being an architect & pilot. Of course, he's only four. Things change.

Now to the good news. We officialy received and returned our LOA today (yes, we checked the box saying we still wanted Caleb!) I think it's appropriate that we received this today because his middle name will be "Le" in honor of both of his grandfathers - Leroy, my father & Leo, my father-in-law.

Stephanie

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

We got our LOA!

Well, it isn't TA (Travel Approval) but it is one step closer. I just got a call from Teri at CHI and she said that we should be receiving our LOA tomorrow. This is a letter from the US consulate asking if we still want to adopt Caleb--gee, after waiting all this time, naah, I don't think so. Just kidding! The great thing about getting this letter is that the very next thing we get is our TA, which normally comes a few weeks after the LOA. So we could be in China in the next 6-8 weeks. Boy, do we have a lot to do. The boys' room isn't finished, I have to bring up some of Zach's old clothes and sort through them to find things I think will fit Caleb. We have to put together a packing list (believe me, this will take a while, especially since Zach & Grace are coming with us!) But most importantly we have to get our Visas. Well, I know what we'll be doing this weekend...

Stephanie

BTW - I also have to figure out a way to convince Zach we can't bring every child home. He saw this picture of Caleb,
he has been asking if we can also bring home the baby in the high chair. Our conversations go like this:

Zach "Can we also bring home that baby in the highchair?"

Me "No, honey." Then I try to explain that China has a rule where you can only adopt one baby at a time.

Zach "Is that a bad rule?"

Me "Well, we need to give Caleb and the rest of us time to adjust to being a larger family."

Zach "But is it a bad rule?"

Me "It's good and bad. It's good because it gives us time to adjust. It's bad because more babies could come home if you could adopt more than one at a time."

Zach "I could probably pick that baby up."

Me "I'm sure you could."

And there it stays until the next time he brings up the "baby in the highchair."