I wrote this blog post a week and a half ago but never got around to posting it because I was trying some pictures on here. Long story short, I never got around to it and we are leaving for China tomorrow!!! I will try and post every day. I know I've been terrible about it lately but I really want to remember everything about our trip so I will really try!
Long time, no blog! I actually started a post a while ago and then just never finished and now that I'm back, none of it applies because a ton has happened since then! So I scrapped the whole thing. So here we go...we got our LOA (Letter of Approval) from China to adopt Miss Charlotte!!! As I have said before, we waited a whopping 106 days for our LOA for Liana and I couldn't help but feel like we would have a long wait again. The wait for LOA was really short when we first started this adoption but, of course, the second we start the process, the waits grew. BUT, we were actually really lucky this time and only waited 48 days!!! We found out that China had given us our approval on January 9th, which just happened to be the day before Erik and I headed on our first ever (well, my first ever) trip away from the kids! Erik was going to a conference for work in Orlando and staying in a resort at Disney World so I couldn't resist joining him this time! We decided to give this to each other as our Christmas gifts to each other because we are both Disney obsessed and Erik knew that he wouldn't visit the parks without me. We also knew that this was our last chance on a "just us" trip for a very long time with our littlest one joining our family shortly. I had been praying that we would get our LOA before we went on our trip because I knew that otherwise I would be stressing about it the entire trip. I was shocked and so thankful that it actually happened! We didn't receive the actual piece of paper until the day before we flew home but just knowing that it had been issued was amazing!! So we were able to enjoy an amazing kid free trip to Disney World! I know, we are the worst parents ever! But it was worth it. ;-) We would normally take the kids with us but they are going to already be missing too much school when we take them to China so we didn't feel too bad. I mean, how many kids get to go to China?! Twice!! So, whatever, we confessed we actually went to Disney World after we came home and showered them with gifts. They forgave us. :-) Especially because they got to spend that time with Grammy (my mom) who they adore! Erik and I got to visit Epcot one evening for free because the whole conference was going to a dessert banquet in this special area on it's own little island for the fireworks show! It was AMAZING!!! The next day, after he got off a little early, we went to Hollywood Studios and got to meet Kylo Ren and Chewie! Then the last day, we got to Magic Kingdom in time for the rope drop and stayed until The Kiss Goodnight when it closed. We were definitely feeling our age as we limped to catch the shuttle to our hotel. Holy smokes! But, what an amazing time!!
Back to the adoption. After receiving our LOA, we applied to USCIS for our I-800. Sound familiar? We applied for our I-800a before the LOA. The I-800a is approval to adopt a child from another country (China, obviously, for us) and the I-800 is the approval to adopt your specific child. They just needed to make sure that Charlotte matches up with what we were approved for in our home study, basically. After a major slowdown in I-800 approvals, we got very lucky and received our approval in just 14 days! Thank you, Jesus!!!
So, after our I-800 approval, there were a few other steps that, honestly I don't even really understand all of it BUT I do know that Travel Approval (TA) is the LAST step and we were extremely lucky and got Travel Approval yesterday which was only a 3 day wait! And then today, we got confirmation that Consulate Appointment (CA) will be 3/29 which is what our entire trip revolves around SO...we're going to China in THIRTEEN DAYS!!!! Oh my gosh!!!! Baby girl, we're coming!!! I can't believe we are actually going to make it to Charlotte in March, which was always my hope! God has definitely been behind all of this! We have had a lot of luck in things going quickly for us and, thank the Lord, or we never would have made it! So we will get to bring Charlotte home before she has her birthday! I am so happy that we will get to celebrate her birthday WITH her!
Here is our itinerary:
3/16- Fly to Detroit, then Beijing
3/17- Arrive in Beijing
3/18- Tour Great Wall and Summer Palace
3/19- Get Charlotte!!! Fly to Guangzhou
3/20- Official Gotcha
3/21- Adoption day!!
3/23- Apply for passport
3/25- Visa paperwork check and medical appointment
3/29- Visa appointment and oath taking ceremony
3/31- Visa pick-up/ train to Hong Kong
4/1- Hong Kong Disney!
4/2- Fly home