Monday, March 23, 2009

Waiting for Baby Kate!

For those following along with our upcoming adoption, we have purchased our tickets and will leave for Beijing on April 8th!

We have not received any follow-up information on our precious little girl, but we have settled on her name - Katherine Elizabeth Bredenberg, or "Baby Kate" as we are already calling her. We should still get updated photos and an updated medical report soon, so that we know what size clothes to take for her.

Our trip will take us to Beijing, Chongqing, and Guangzhou, which are far enough apart to present very different climates. As a result, we're already thinking through the packing process and attempting to put together a minimal set of bags to get us there and back without breaking any backs. We'll be counting on doing laundry regularly, and so rather than packing for two weeks, we'll be packing for a few days and counting on our agency's representative can put us in touch with a place to do laundry like the last time. When we travelled to adopt Sydney, we thought we were packing lightly, but by the end of the trip, we had changed our minds. This time, we are DETERMINED to really pack lightly and not lug around any more than necessary.

Consider yourself warned - you'll likely see lots of pictures of us wearing the same clothes over and over again. ;-)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We have a Consulate Appointment!

It's official, we will be leaving on April 8th for China!

We got word today that the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou has confirmed an appointment for us. That is the stake in the sand that lets all the other dates fall into place, so now we are looking for airline tickets and doing all those last minute... well... last 3 week... things.

More to come later.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Travel Approval!!!

I just got a very unexpected call from our agency saying they received our Travel Approval (TA) this morning from the Chinese government! For those not familiar with the process (i.e.- almost everyone reading this) the TA is one of several key steps and it typically comes in 2 to 5 weeks after the referral package. For those doing the math, today would be LESS THAN 2 WEEKS! But we're thrilled. Or rather, I'm thrilled. I haven't even been able to reach Amy yet to tell her...

Our agency has asked us to be ready to leave on Wednesday, April 8th, and they are requesting an appointment with the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou for one of several dates two weeks later. It's going to be a whirlwind, but W-O-W!!!

Have to start looking at flights... oh and decide on a name... oh and get Chinese visas...

This means we won't be here for Peter's 2nd birthday. Ack! Poor guy! Fortunately, we're celebrating his birthday and Sydney's birthday at the same time the weekend before, so at least he'll get a party. Not that he's really aware of birthdays or parties at this point...

Sorry, rambling...

Friday, March 6, 2009 FTW!

FedEx has delivered our "Letter of Seeking Confirmation from the Adopter" (yes, that's what the letter is actually titled) back to our agency!

I love overnight delivery.

Oh, and online tracking too...

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Okay, last post for today...

We know we will be traveling to the city of Chongqing (formerly Chungking) to adopt our daughter. As you can read on Wikipedia or any other source, it is a large city surrounded by an even larger municipality with a great deal of history. It is on the Yangtze River above the Three Gorges Dam. From what I've read, the area is known for some good food, too (and I'm not talking about Chun King!)

So, here's where our readers come in. I'd love to have anyone who knows about this area tell us what you would recommend we see or do while in Chongqing. Keep in mind that we won't be going far from the hotel, and tourism is decidedly not the purpose of the trip. From our previous experience, though, we will probably have a few opportunities (perhaps as much as 3-4 hours at a time) to see some sights when we are not taking care of paperwork or meeting officials to finalize various pieces of the adoption process. After all, if you have a fussy baby, better to be out walking around and exploring than enclosed by four walls of a hotel room!

Any suggestions welcome!

Providence in travel companions

In my previous post, I talked about some of the milestones that have to be reached before we can actually plan our travel to China.

At some point in there, we'll have a conference call with our agency's other adopting families who are traveling to adopt from the same orphanage, as we will all travel together in a group. We think there will be six families, though our group could be combined for some part of the trip with another group if the itineraries overlap.

In what is a HUGE answer to prayer, we have already made contact with one of the families that will be traveling with us, and they will be bringing their 6-year-old daughter with them on the trip, just as we will be bringing Sydney with us! It is such a huge blessing to know there will be another child on the trip with whom Sydney can play and spend time, and to have a little girl so close in age is nothing short of an amazing providence!

We are praying, and would appreciate your prayers too, that the trip would be a fun and smooth one for Sydney, and that she and the other little girl would be able to make the trip more enjoyable for each other despite the jet-lag, long hours of travel, and long hours of not doing much other than sitting in a hotel.

Ready? Set! Set! Set! Set....

What a funny place to be. After three and a half years of mostly just waiting (if you start when we began filling out paperwork for this adoption), we are suddenly scrambling to get details knocked out, knowing we will travel in something like 5-8 weeks. However, we have no idea what the dates will actually be, and there is so much we still can't do.

  • We can't book tickets, all we can do is run what-if scenarios to see what tickets might cost.
  • We can't notify co-workers about when we will be out, only provide rough approximations.
  • We can't make any plans beyond about 4 weeks out, because when the dates are set, we'll have about a week to buy tickets and drop everything.

Amy remembers this as being the hardest part of the process, where we finally have a face, a name, a place, but we have to wait on so many other people and agencies before we will have a date and will be able to go bring her home. I remembered this as the exciting time of making preparations, but it is hard, to be sure, to have so much left unknown. We would drop everything tomorrow and go bring our daughter home if we could, but it's not up to us...

Here's a brief list of what I understand needs to happen (I may be missing some steps...)

  1. We sent back our signed letter of acceptance to our agency via FedEx Overnight service.
  2. Once they get that, they will send it back to the CCAA (Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs, iirc)
  3. Once it is received in China, some agency will give us a Travel Approval, basically saying they approve of us coming over to adopt our daughter.
  4. Once we have the Travel Approval, our agency will request an appointment with the appropriate people at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou for the appropriate processing to meet the U.S. government's requirements.
  5. Once we have an appointment date, all the other dates fall into place quickly, and we are left with about 10-12 days (we hope) to buy tickets and get ready to leave.

Did you notice that in all those steps, the only involvement Amy and I have until the very end is already done, and the rest is out of our hands? There is peace in knowing that it is in God's hands, regardless of what all those individual agencies think.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More Photos of our daughter

Today we received the package in the mail with medical information and other details that were read to us over the phone yesterday. Along with that package, we got two new photos, shown below.

Still in a state of amazement!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Match Day!

We got the call!

At 12:16pm today, our agency called and let us know we have been referred a baby girl from China!!!

Her Chinese name (given by the orphanage workers) is Yang Fu Ya. Yang is a surname taken from the name of the county where she lives. Fu means good fortune and blessing, and Ya means elegant and refined.

She was born on June 29, 2008. This is probably a best guess by the orphanage workers, but we will find out more about the circumstances in which she was found and brought to the orphanage as we proceed through the process and get more details from China.

Below is a photograph of her, taken at around six months of age.

Join us in thanking God for this wonderful news!

More to come as we go through this process.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tomorrow will be The Day!

Our agency has confirmed that they have received the referral packages for their families! They are translating the information about *our child* as I type, and we will get "The Call" tomorrow sometime during the day.

The excitement is setting in for sure now!

I'll be working from home tomorrow until we get "The Call", and will try to post the info as soon as I can.

More to come, real, real soon!

Let's Give it a Go!

Ok, new trial starting today. If you tried to hit, you should have been directed here. For now, this is the site we will be using to post updates, particularly with respect to the upcoming adoption (see below). If all goes well, I'll tie this back to the domain name, but I'm not ready to do that just yet.

Come back often!

Tick-tock, tick-tock

Referral phone calls have reportedly started happening in other countries, which means the referrals should arrive sometime soon in the US for agencies here! At that point they will have to have things translated, and then the phone calls will start happening. There are confirmations from other countries that people whose LID's (logged-in-dates) are the same as ours have gotten calls, so it looks like we will definitely be getting a call and hearing about our new little one SOON!

Can you believe it?

I can't.

It's only been three years... I'm not sure I'm ready... ;)