Thursday, August 23, 2007

We are in China!

I'll make this brief. We had a great flight and are currently in Beijing. Yay for the new slot from IAD (Dulles) to Beijing -- non-stop! At 13.5 hours, it was long enough but we arrived ready to GO! bed.

Happy to find the weather here is just great -- high 80s/low 90s and a little less humidity than we've seen in DC.

Yesterday we toured the Summer Palace, saw the Marble Boat (which was supposed to last as long as the reign of the emporer who had it built...lesson to Bush -- the boat's still there but the ruler is long gone).

Last night, we took in an extra outing -- a martial arts/broadway-like kungfu performance that was billed as "More energetic than River Dance!" -- a quote from the Irish Ambassador to China. It was very impressive. Watching these young men smash stone bars over their heads reminded me of the long paper process we have gone through to get here.

Not sure how often we'll be posting here but rest assured, we are having a great time and look forward to Monday when we'll get our Gracie.

Love to all.

Xie Xie.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Leaving, on a jet plane...

We are off to China on August 21st! After years of waiting, we are finally going to get our girl. We will arrive in Beijing, then travel to Hunan where we will have our "Gotcha Day" with Grace -- on the 8th month anniversary of her birthday -- continue on to Guangzhou for the visit with the US Consular office, and depart from Hong Kong after a few days of sightseeing as a new family.

Sometime after that, we will post photos of our trip on this site. Thanks for checking with us and be sure to check back in mid-September!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Recap on Key Dates

We started the process in 2004 but had to wait until we had been married a year due to various rules & policies. In April of 2005, we started the "paperchase," collecting documents and getting inspections done, fingerprints, clearances. Our homestudy was completed quickly, as was our USCIS approval of our fingerprints and form I-171. On October 4, 2005, we submitted our final dossier to our agency to send to China. China logged us in to their system on 11/09/05. Then we waited, and updated our papers and clearances as they expired.... Finally, on July 10, 2007, we received our referral and laid eyes on our sweet baby for the first time. We were so excited to get to the agency to see her pictures, we left the house without the important papers we needed to bring!

Now, over a month later, we have approval to travel. Soon we will be in China and this long, long process will be nearly forgotten.

I wouldn't wish the delays on anyone -- when we started, the wait time between log in and referral was down to 6 months; ours ended up being over 20 months. For many families still in the queue, they could end up waiting three years or more. For our "short" wait, we are thankful.

Thanks to You

At this point, shortly before everything gets crazy, I want to stop and say THANK YOU to all of our family, dear friends and neighbors, and the virtual community (RQ'ers, you know who you are!) who have offered us support, encouragement, and advice these past months. Many people have posted beautiful comments on our blog for our daughter to read when she grows up, and many more congratulated us on RQ at referral. Still more have sent or appeared on our doorstep with armloads of clothing and toys for our baby girl. We deeply appreciate this tidal wave of love for Grace Xue and can't wait to share her with you upon our return.


We just finally received word that our Travel Approval has arrived. That's the second to last step before we go. The final approval we need is the date of our Consular Appointment in Guangzhou, which tells us the end point of our trip and defines the date by which we need to leave here to get to China. All signs point to us traveling sometime the week of August 20th!