Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Elise Has Been Found!!!

OK, so I guess my wandering baby didn't really wander after all. CCAA confirmed that she is still in the Poyang SWI. The orphanage director simply did not want to give out any updated pictures or information regaurding the children in the orphanage. Wouldn't that have been easier to say, than to lie about where she is? I know that the people working and running the orphanages have a lot on their plate. I can't imagine taking care of that many babies, toddlers and children, but really, why send a mother into a full blown panic! I think maybe they don't realize or understand that I already feel in my heart and with every fiber of my being that I AM her mother! If you "lose" her, I won't be satisfied with another baby. She is mine and I am hers! That invisible red thread already connects us and I have started pulling on my end of that string to bring us closer together! I am emotionaly attached to that little girl in the picture. I've memorized everything about her little face. I re-read her referral information and medical information at least once a week. I know what it says about her eating habits, her personality, how she sleeps and what she likes to play with. I need that little girl in my arms and in my life.

I guess I just wonder what goes through the minds of the nannies and directors of orphanages? Do they think adoptive parents can just "pick out" another baby like you would pick out a new pair of shoes? I don't think they understand the love I already have for Bo Jia Qun and that my heart literally skipped a beat when I heard the words "she's not here anymore". It was the same feeling I get when I lose Emmie in the department store! There was a pit in the bottom of my stomach and I don't think it will go away until she is safely in my arms!

OK, so enough about that! She's safe and that's all that matters. My agency is still hoping for an updated picture & measurements. I will post as soon as I recieve (or if I recieve).

Timeline for Travel: Our Article 5 should have been mailed yesterday from the US Consulate in Guanghzou to the CCAA in Guanghzou. So, hopefully CCAA recieves it today or tomorrow. The CCAA(Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs) is who will issue us travel approval. It takes 2 to 4 weeks to recieve TA (travel approval). I was told by our adoption agency that TA's have been arriving quickly lately and that I should expect the TA sometime between April 15th and the 22nd. We will travel approximatley 2 to 3 weeks after we recieve the TA. We always fly out on a Thursday to arrive in Beijing on a Friday. So possible dates that we will leave are April 28th,  or May 5th.

I don't have any updated pictures, but thought I would repost a few pics that I do have our beautiful daugther!! I just can't get enough of her!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Can you say ANXIETY!!!!!

Lots of things going on in the Brooks household these days..... I don't even know where to begin!!

First of all, the Fun Fair was a huge success!! Thank you to everyone who came! Thank you to Cinnfully Delicious & Suburban Sweets for donating cupcakes!! Thank you to Beth for making cookies & rice krispy treats to sell at the concession stand. Thank you to Total Fitness of Columbus for allowing us to use the gym & to Easterling Entertainment for donating a jumpy castle!! Thank you to Stamps & Stones and Kerry for donating prizes to the raffles. I believe great fun was had by all!! And we raised lots of money$$$$$$

Here are a few pictures from the evening....

We also closed on our house last Friday! WooHoo. Now we will  be free to move to another state if a job opportunity comes along for Tom (of course it will be after we go to China) . We have also lucked out in the rental house shopping. We found a house in our neighborhood! God is soo good!! We can move as early as this weekend. It's actually a house on the market, but sitting empty. The owner graciously offered to let us rent it! So, she is relieving some stress for us and hopefully we can relieve some of her stress & financial burdens! The greatest thing for us is that it is a nice house, in our home neighborhood, so the boys will still be able to ride the bus to school & play with all their friends this summer!! I have been extreamly stressed out about the closing of our house and finding a decent rental house, so having all of this fall into place weeks before I go to China is AWESOME! God does have a plan and it is better than mine!!

Finally, as most of you know, we have been trying to get updated photo's and measurments of Elise through the website that sent the birthday package and cake. The orphanage Elise is in originally agreed to send an update, but has never sent it. The website contacted the orphanage again yesterday and was told Elise is no longer there!! WHAT?????? MY BABY IS MISSING?!!! I went into fullblown panic mode (and so did Tom). My wonderful adoption agency, AWAA, quickly talked me down from the paniced state I was in. According to AWAA one of two things has happened: either the orphanage doesn't want to give an update and that was their way of getting the website off their back, or Elise is now in foster care. AWAA is submitting an inquiry about this today to the CCAA and I should have an answer as to where she is (and hopefully a picure) by Friday. I will keep you posted!

Thanks for the prayers and support from everone!! Please continue to pray for safe travels for Scott (my brother) & I as we prepare to travel to China. Pray for Elise, that she is safe and well cared for until I get there! And pray for Tom as he holds down the fort while I go get our daughter.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Updates on China Timeline...

OK, first of all, an update. The Visa Letter did finally come in on Saturday, March 12th. I faxed it to AWAA on March 14th. AWAA sent it to the US Consulate in Guanghzou sometime that week. We will get no more updates until our travel approval arrives, which should happen in the next 2 to 3 weeks!! Once we get travel approval, we will travel a few weeks later!! Getting sooo excited! It's almost here!

Also, we are doing what I hope to be our last fundraiser!! Tonight at Total Fitness of Columbus we are having a fun fair. Junpy Castle, Face Painting, Games, Snacks, Raffles. It should be tons of fun. Thanks soooo much to my friends and family who are helping us put this on! A BIG Thanks to Easterling Entertainment (who are also the best neighbors in the world) for donating the jumpy castle, cotton candy machine & popcorn machine!! You ROCK!!

Hoping for a huge turn out tonight!! 6:30 to 8:30 PM in the gymnasium at Total Fitness of Columbus!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Still waiting on NVC....

Still waiting on the National Visa Center Letter...... uggg!!! It's been a week since we recieved the I800 approval. The NVC letter was supposed to arrive about a week after the I800. Starting to get nervous, every day it takes to come is another day I have to wait before I get Elise placed in my arms forever!!

I thought being pregnant and waiting 9 months to see the beautiful baby growing inside you was tough. That was cake compared to this!! At least in pregnancy you know what your baby is doing, you feel them move, you know they are safe. I worry about Elise every minute of every day. Is she being feed every time she's hungry? Are her nannies changing her diaper every time she needs it? It she happy? Is she safe? Is she loved? Does she get a bath? soooo many questions?????

The closer I get to her, the more anxious I become about loosing precious time with her. She's growing up without a family! She needs us as much as we need her!

I'm still hoping for travel in the last 2 weeks of April!!! Keep praying for us & Elise! Pray for peace of mind for us! Pray for safety & good care for Elise! Pray for our NVC letter to arrive quickly! Pray that the US Consulate in Guangzou will issue the Article 5 quickly! Pray that the CCAA (Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs) will issue travel approval quickly!!

Thank you,

Friday, March 4, 2011

Some info about Jiangxi China

I think about Elise and what her life must be like in the orphange, but I also wonder about the area around her orphanage. What would her life have been like if she wasn't coming to the US, hmmm?????

So here's some info I've been digging up on the Province of Jiangxi......

Did you know that girls from the Jianghxi province are affectionately called "spicy girls."  Some Chinese folks say that it refers to the idea that peppers are grown in this province and the people of the province like spicy foods.  While others say that it refers to their personality. I've heard several adoptive families with babies from this region tell me to beware of her "spicey" personallity!! LOL!! I'm looking forward to it! Besides, she's the youngest of four kids, she will have to be "spicey" or she'll get walked all over!

Here's a pepper farm in Jiangxi. It is possible Elise is the daughter of a pepper farmer.

Jianghxi is known for porcelain.  Some of the porcelain vases here are works of art. Maybe Elise would have painted porcelain for a living, or maybe her mother does. I'm definietley going to buy someting porcelain from Jiangxi. Something for Elise to have when she's older and asking questions about where she came from. I want to be able to answer as many questions as possible for her and show her things that came from the place she was born.

Lake Poyang is the largest fresh water lake in China. There has been a fishing ban in place for several years, so doubtful that Elise's father is a fisherman, but possible. The fishing ban is to protect a finless dolphin (sounds like a crazy kind of animal) but it's apparently in danger of extinction and it is a native to this lake. Elise's orphanage is in Poyang County, which borders the lake. I think this lake looks absolutely beautiful!! Elise is definietley from a beautiful part of China.

Nanchang is the capitol of Jiangxi. This is where we will travel to recieve Elise and complete the Chinese adoption. Nanchang is a regional hub for agricultural production in Jiangxi. The yield of grain was 16.146 million tons in 2000. Products such as rice and oranges are economic staples. The Ford Motor Company has a plant in Nanchang. Many of its industry revolves around aircraft manufacturing, automobile manufacturing, electro-mechanics, textile and chemical engineering. Like all cities, parts of Nanchang look beautiful, but other parts, not so much! Nanchang is pretty modern. It's not likely that Elise's biological parents lived in the city. They are probably farmers of some sort and live outside the city in a more rural village. Here are some pictures of Nanchang.

Hope you've enjoyed a little tidbit of info on Jiangxi China.... more to come as I try to pass the time while waiting for Elise!!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I-800 Approval!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We recieved an email from our agency and a letter in the mail from the USCIS that our I800 has been approved! Thank you Lord!!

The next step is: We wait until we recieve the offical Visa Approval from the National Visa Center. This letter should come within the next week. I then, fax the letter to AWAA (our adoption agency). AWAA sends it to the US Consulate in Gaungzhou, Guangdong Province, China. The consulate takes about 10 days to issue an Article 5, which they give to the CCAA (Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs). The CCAA then takes about 3 to 4 weeks to issue travel approval for us. Once my agency recieves our travel approval, they call me immediatley to start planing flights!! We will travel about 2 to 3 weeks after the travel approval.

So, when you add all those dates together, it looks like we will travel around the end of April! Very excited to be getting soooo close!! This is a picture of the Social Welfare Institute of Poyang County.... where my baby is at!!

Thank you again to everyone who has supported us through this journey by praying, or financial support or both! The journey isn't over yet, we aren't on a plane heading to China and we still need about $4,000 to finish the adoption. So keep the prayers coming!!! We still need them, and we are very gratefull to you! I'm still just so amazed at how God works to make it all happen. His plan is perfect, and I have faith in him. This will all come together according to HIS plan!