Saturday, September 21, 2013

Approvals, Visas and Packages, oh my!

Things are hopping over here in the Huff house.  It is proving to be a busy fall even without the excitement of the adoption.

Will is the source of most of the busyness.  I asked him how he thought 10th grade was going.  His reply was that is was really going well, academics just seemed to be getting in the way though.  Don't they always!!  He is in show choir this year and is having a ball.  They had their Dancing with the teachers fundraiser last night and his group won!  It was so much fun!  He is also in Shrek the Musical and is trying to finish up his Eagle scout work.
After Dancing with the Teachers

Jenny is spending most her time studying.  She seems to have a lot of work each night and school and good grades are very important to her.  Her statement would be the exact opposite of Will's.  Academics take top priority for her.  Isn't God funny.  Two exact opposite kids to parent.  She is doing well though and she has some exciting things coming up which I'll talk about in another post.  She is taking piano and enjoying being in the youth group at church now. 
At the Mosaic shop making a lady bug
which is a Chinese adoption good luck symbol

This sounds like those paragraphs they read when kids are on the homecoming court.  
He enjoys singing and dancing and throwing the football with his dad.
She enjoys piano, algebra 1 and checking active parent on a DAILY basis.

Moving on....

In adoption news, things are going really well.  After LOA we had to apply for I800 approval.  We've already been through one round of immigration and I knew to get in contact with our officer and see how it was going. I received a panic inducing email from our case officer which said "our LOA is missing."   That was not a fun few minutes.  Lord have mercy people the words, "a copy of your LOA is missing" would go long way!   Our officer was so great and once our social worker emailed her a copy she approved our application.  Just FYI the actual copy of the LOA was safe and sound at Lifeline and is now safe and sound in China!  

After this approval we waited a few days and began bugging, calling relentlessly, making contact with the National Visa Center.  This was in an effort to secure a PDF copy of the letter that is cabled to the US embassy on Sarah's  behalf.  This is to let them know she has provisional approval for a Visa to enter the US.  The letter would come via snail mail (we got it yestserday) but securing the PDF saved us a week. 

Speaking of Visas.... I work at a church sponsored preschool for a grand total of 9 hours a week.  I actually won't even be working there in a few weeks, but because it is religious organization we can not get my Visa to enter China until our travel approval is received.  Shane's should be back on Tuesday of next week.  It's not that big a deal, but it could delay us leaving by  a few days.  We know when we would like to leave but have to wait for our TA before making plans.  We have to allow at least 10 days between TA and travel to get my Visa.  I've stewed over it for awhile and then come to realization there is absolutely zero I can do about it so we will just deal with it.  We are getting close and a few days will be ok.

We are in a process right now that takes 10 business days to complete.  It all takes place in China and it has to do with papers changing hands.  We are about 4 days into that.  The only hitch for us is that the 10th business day is Oct 1 which starts the Chinese National Holiday.  Think Thanksgiving over here.  Only they take a week off.  I knew we would hit this delay at some point and figured into our waiting.  If all goes as planned we should start our wait for TA sometime the week of October the 7th.  Will you pray with us for a quick TA ?

We had a sweet surprise and got a new picture of our Sarah.  A team had visited and sent a picture back.  I'm holding that one close though.  It is sweet picture but also a reminder of where she she is.  We should get our final update any day now with updated measurements.  I'm very much looking forward to that.  We also sent her a care package.  If you ever want to send a shoe box sized care package to China use the USPO not UPS.  It was going to be $185 through UPS!!!  It was $27 through the PO, but I added tracking so it was closer to $40, plus the forwarding service I used to actually get it to the orphanage. We added a clothing donation for the orphanage, some treats for the nannies and some lollipops for the kids.  I had lollipops in the package but they made me take them out.  Not sure why, but Ok!  All in all to send the package was expensive and the contents were not of any great signifigance, except the photos of us and a blanket I made, but it made me feel good to send her something.

We are so appreciative of the kids words, prayers, support and love we have received on this journey.  It's becoming very real that we will be adding a new member to our family.  Please continue to pray as we get to connected to specialists for her needs and prepare our hearts for her.  Pray also that the Lord will begin to prepare her heart for a family!

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