Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Passport Pictures - So Bad

On our way home from work today Aly and I stopped by Walgreen’s and had our Passport pictures taken. I don’t think either of us is too thrilled with the photos but the bottom line remains – we each have our three required Passport photos and with that another step in the paperchase has been completed.

So Bad...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Just Finished 2nd Home Study

We have just finished our SECOND home study with Mr. P, our caseworker - just two more to go! Actually, this was our first meeting but as it turns out, the original seminar with Chinese Children’s Charities that we attended qualifies as our first home study visit – thus we have completed two home studies after our meeting with Mr. P today.

Mr. P is a retired clinical psychologist living at Penney Farms. He is well organized and has assisted with other Chinese adoptions. He is very impressed with the agency we are going through and told us we had made a very fine choice in our selection of CCAI.

Our home study lasted a little over two hours in which time Mr. P asked questions from highlighted areas of our individual biographies that he had copies of. In our next meeting, September 24 at 10:00 AM, he plans to speak privately Alyson and then me for approximately 45-50 minutes.

At this meeting he expressed that China, not being a Christian nation, cares less about our religion and not to over play it but rather play up the family activities that are a part of our upbringing and a part of our lives today. According to Mr. P, China is BIG on family – that comes across as somewhat strange to me in that China seems to have mixed regards for the huge number of it’s abandoned baby girls. Still, Alyson and I, along with thousands of other American families are so very happy that at least now they embrace international adoptions.

Mr. P is one heck of a nice guy. He has gone out of his way to make us feel comfortable with the home study process and you can tell he has a genuine caring heart for the children being adopted. We lucked out. We are looking forward to our next home study – then it will be 3 down and 1 to go!!!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Home Study Time

It’s Home Study Time!!! Tomorrow at 10:30 AM will be our first introduction to Mr. P, our caseworker.

Dear Mr. P,

Per the email below from CCAI, you are the social worker assigned to us.We are AC & FM living in NE Florida.We are leaving on a long vacation beginning on September 2nd, so wanted to let you know that we are available until then if you need any information from us. I am sure you realize we are anxious to be moving forward with this process and look forward to meeting you.

Alyson & Ford

Hi Alyson and Ford,
Thanks for your note and your upcoming schedule.
I just picked up the documentation from the Florida CCAI office at the post office and was about to contact you. I look forward to helping you prepare for adding a new member to your family.
We can get this process started before you leave if you desire. The only available day that I have open before September 2 is tomorrow, Saturday, August 27. Your being gone for some length of time in September is parallel to my traveling from September 10 to September 20.
Let me know and I will call you to schedule a meeting time.

Leon P

We can meet with you anytime tomorrow. Just let us know the time and if you need directions. Thank you for the quick reply.

Alyson & Ford

How about 10:30 am. I have your driving directions.
Look forward to meeting you


Tomorrow, Saturday, at 10:30 a.m. will be fine. See you then.

Alyson & Ford

This is another huge step forward. We are both pretty excited about having our first home study before we head up to Maine for the better part of September. Alyzabeth An – we’re making progress…

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Express Mail Don't Fail Us Now!

Did a quick check on our Express Mail packages after coming home from work today. Each package has been delivered and signed for by the Chinese consulates in New York and Chicago.

Here’s hoping everything is in order and our authenticated papers are mailed back quickly.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Hello Mr. P

This morning I (Alyson) received an email from CCAI – Florida Office announcing that we have been assigned a social worker:

In a message dated 8/23/2005 10:07:18 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, fl-postadopt@chinesechildren.org writes:

Alyson and Ford,Congratulations! You have been matched with a social worker. His name is Mr. P. His phone number is 904-XXX-XXXXand e-mail address is XXX. He should be contacting you soon so you can begin your home study! Please feel free to call us at 850-XXX-XXXX if you have any questions. Have a great day!

Chinese Children Adoption International - FL Office

The paper chase continues…. along with another step closer to our ultimate reward.
We both took the day off from work in order to go to Doctor’s appointments.I (Ford) had my follow-up Dr’s appointment this morning at 0800 and walked out with a great blood pressure reading and my signed, sealed, delivered physical exam form! Alyson had her initial Dr’s appointment this morning at 0900 and just needs to have her blood work done before we have her approved physical exam form as well.

We just finished mailing our Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition to the Jacksonville office including the check for $625. We look forward to receiving our fingerprinting date. In addition, we Express mailed our certified birth certificates for authentication to our respective P.R. of China Consulate General. Mine was sent to Chicago and Alyson sent hers to New York, each with a $25.00 dollar money order.

Received a quite long and moving email from the person Ford purchased a swan necklace for me for our 20th anniversary (more on that later; he presented it to me in Maine).

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Adoption - Maine - So Much To Do

The mail just arrived and the third express package arrived with our certified marriage certificate from Florida. Today we will review what we have left to do in order to start the home study, which I think is just the results from our Doctor’s appointment on Tuesday. The J’s referral arrived at the agency yesterday. Next step is to keep working on our dossier.

We are planning our trip to Maine. We begin driving right after work on Friday, September 2nd. I am ordering printed/personalized favors for our cake tables. Still trying to get organized about this event. Should be fun with the caterer, cakes, balloons, favors and lots of family. My best friend V is coming too.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The PaperChase Continues & Continues...

The post office tried to deliver Express Packages from Missouri and Maine yesterday but neither of us was home to sign for them. However, they left a signature card for me to sign giving them permission to deliver them today provided I left them the signed signature card - and guess what – I did - and they did.

Aly and I each have our certified birth certificates now. Also in the mail today was the additional birth certificate we needed on Aly. In short – yesterday and today have been very good adoption days! We stumbled out of the gate but we are getting our feet under us now. The pace is quickening. We need a DTC by December meaning we really need to get the home study going.(A sincere thank you for prayers answered – Thank you Lord)

We were trying to get together with P&K this weekend and only tonight, Friday, will it work out that we can go to dinner together at Whitey’s. We told them of the news, and P and I started crying (I have to stop this!!!). When Ford told the story of the white swan, even K shed a few tears.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Medical

August 18, 2005

Good news on the phone today. I had a message to call the Doctor’s office day before yesterday to get the results of my blood test. When I tried to call the next day (yesterday) I was unable to reach the proper nurse to get the results. When I got home I had another message on the answering machine to try again for the blood results. So today I tried again and this time I was patched through to the correct office and nurse and I got my blood results. As I expected, the cholesterol was a bit too high but diet, not medication, was suggested to bring it down.

Now for the REALLY GOOD NEWS. Aly and I stopped at the Doctor’s office and I ran in to grab the referral for the blood work. Aly waited in the car, as I didn’t expect it to take but a second. Aly said if it took longer than that she would come inside and wait for me. Long story short (ened), the receptionist had trouble finding by paperwork and then came back and asked if I had time for one of the nurses to take my blood pressure. I’ll explain later, maybe – maybe not, but anyway, I went to the back and waited, meanwhile Aly gave up waiting for me to come back to the car and came inside to wait. The nurse finally called my name and we sat down for the hold up your left arm I’m going to take your blood pressure now routine. The test showed the pills to be working well but she couldn’t sign off for the Doctor. Once the Doctor signs that line I will have my clean bill of health with the exception of the ultrasound results. No problem, I have my next appointment this Tuesday. As I got up to leave the nurse said, by the way, we got your results back from the ultrasound today and everything looks normal. I could have kissed her but I acted nonchalant and grateful for the news all the while dancing wildly inside…. You just cannot imagine what a relief it was to hear that the ultrasound came back good. That bit of news meant that I had passed my physical once I see the Doctor Tuesday morning and get a good blood pressure reading.

This is great…..

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Alyzabeth An Quest Continues

As you can probably tell, Alyson and I are taking turns logging events into our journal. We did go to the Jaguar game (I do not like rip off pre-season games); believe me (and Alyson will concur) - it was HOT… We stayed until half time. Oh yes, and the Jaguars WON. Did I mention it was HOT!!! Now, more on our quest for Alyzabeth.

Today was a rather expensive trip to the post office. I mailed off the paperwork that Alyson worked on all weekend. I thought I might be able to slip in to the post office, purchase a couple of money orders and slide right out. Wrong… There was more work than I bargained for in filling out the paperwork to mail three documents off for certification and providing express mail packaging for their safe and swift return. One package went to Maine to have Alyson’s birth certificate certified by the Maine Sec. of State; another went to Missouri to have my birth certificate certified and the lastly we sent our marriage certificate off to Tallahassee to have it certified. All together – over a hundred dollars in money orders and express mail charges…. Still, it felt good to know we are making progress. As Alyson’s mentor would say “It’s a good thing”. I’m just glad Alyson doesn’t have to wear the ankle bracelet.

Alyson has her Doctor’s appointment Tuesday, August 23. I return to my Doctor for the follow-up from my appointment a week ago on the same day. The Doctor started me on high blood pressure medicine, which I expected. What I didn’t expect was being sent to have an ultrasound on a potential problem. The Doctor noticed some swelling and wanted to have it checked out. I lucked out and got a late afternoon appointment that same day. While I am not that worried about what they will find, it is still a source of concern if only because I do not want anything to complicate the adoption process. Hopefully I can get the Doctor to complete my physical form and sign off and one more piece of the adoption paperwork puzzle chase will be complete. I am open to prayers for healing….

Saturday, August 13, 2005

PaperChase & Jaguar Football

Working on more paper work. Have a package ready to be mailed to start our home study even though we are missing a few documents (employment verification and the corresponding financial statement, one personal reference and the Doctor’s exam forms). Typed the Petition for Adoption.Also typed all the cover letters needed for certifying documents and for authentication of documents.We needed to order another certified birth certificate for each of us since we did not read ahead to the immigration services requirements.

Off to a pre-season football game that Ford does not want to go to since it is so hot. We also had the huge pine tree stump ground out today. Nice guy came to our door and did a very good job.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

How Many To Tell?

Told JR at lunchtime about adopting.

Went to dinner with D& J E., told them all about Alyzabeth An. Their daughter Liz is named: Elizabeth Anne (they originally wanted to name her Sarah Lee-Ann). Their Liz is pregnant and due in February.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Still More Friends To Share With

Told LB at work about adoption. C called that night; spoke for quite a while; she offered to baby-sit at her house and she would not smoke in front of little Lizzy!!

Tried different fonts to get used to Alyzabeth’s new name (Edwardian Script ITC).
Alyzabeth An (Lizzy)

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Starting To Tell Friends

Went to Beaches UMC with J&D W. Went to dinner afterwards to an Italian restaurant only a block from the church. Told them about our plans to adopt a little girl from China. They couldn’t have been more happy and supportive for us - They are a great couple and family.

The weeks are flying by and we are going days without working on the adoption papers. We are still tired on work nights so will have to change our work schedules once Alyzabeth is here!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Telling The Older Bro

I spoke to my oldest brother B and shared our good news. (B was way happy and supportive - really seemed happy for us).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Still More Family To Tell

I called T, M & B. Brother B is too good. He is already trying to set us up with a family he knows that has just recently adopted from China. If I ever need help - you will find his phone number in my pocket - at all times…

Sister’s ML and T were awesome. Each has a young growing family of their own and I can’t wait to get Alyzabeth around them all. I have a great family support system.

Aly finished drawing the floor plan on graph paper. Edited our autobiographies and finalized.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

More Family To Tell

Sent T an email to have her call me. She was working her 12-hour shifts and didn’t know what time would be best to call her.

Ford called his Dad and J; spoke to J.

Worked on organizing the paper work and making copies of competed documents.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Informing Family

Called Mom and Dad C. to tell them the news. Mom was excited, surprised that we were adopting from China. She told of another family close by who had also adopted a Chinese girl.

Called M and told her the news.