Our Alexander Thomas

The moment we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived….. we have a son! On Monday evening, January 21, 2013, we received an email from our social worker that will change our lives forever. Staring back at us through my laptop screen were several photos of a little 10 month old boy diagnosed with severe cleft lip and palate. We continued to hold our breath throughout the week as we awaited several medical opinions on his medical records and lab reports. We heard what we expected to hear- that our little man is incredibly tiny for his age because of his medical diagnosis, and that he’ll need at least one surgery in the first few months home.

On Wednesday afternoon after a final consultation with the University of Chicago’s International Adoption Clinic, Brian and I looked at each other and couldn’t stop grinning.  This little boy, who we have chosen to call Alexander Thomas, is our long-awaited son.  After several phone calls (most of which ended up with all parties in tears), our application was electronically submitted early Thursday morning the 24th to the Chinese government and the countdown began.

Today, we received word from our agency that the Chinese government has issued us a preliminary approval (PA) for the adoption of little Alexander Thomas. Our huge dossier-o-life is now being scrutinized to make sure that we are a stable, loving, and healthy couple and a suitable home for this little guy. Once they have confirmed all of the information in our application, they will issue us a formal Letter of Acceptance (LOA) which we will have to sign and FedEx back to the Chinese government. Then the real fun of governments negotiating with governments begins. We hope, with fingers and toes crossed, that we will be able to travel by sometime in June at the latest.

But all in good time. For now, join us in the celebration that our family is growing, that this little boy, our son, has found his family.

We hope to be able to share more details about our son as soon as we can; until we officially sign the letter of acceptance, we will need to be sensitive about the information we share here. Feel free to contact us directly if you are interested in more details.






All systems go!

In the middle of searching for some gifts for an upcoming baby shower tonight, the email arrived from our social worker.

We are logged in! That means that our social worker could find a referral for our future son or daughter RightThisMinute. We’re feeling giddy and a little overwhelmed– especially after spending the last weekend with some of our closest friends (one couple is REALLY pregnant, and the other couple has recently adopted the sweetest little boy from Russia). We’re seeing our lives change right before our eyes, and we couldn’t be happier!


The hard part

I figured I’d post a little update for you, as we’ve now entered into the first of a series of Long Waits ™. Our social worker told us this week that Log In Dates have been trickling in much slower than anticipated, and that we’re still waiting for ours. She is hopeful that ours will come in soon and is having our in-country contact check on our dossier for us. Having someone in China on staff at our agency is one of the major reasons we chose the agency we did– though waiting isn’t easy, it’s better knowing that someone is watching out for us over there.

On a positive note, we picked out our adoption clinic after consultation with a few hospitals and my favorite pediatrician-on-call. We found an awesome clinic through the University of Chicago– they will review our referral’s medical file and have an in-person or phone consult with us within our 72-hour window, and then will follow up once we’re home with our child. During subsequent visits, the department tries to lump multiple subspecialists if needed, resulting in fewer trips in to the city for everyone and a lot more teamwork between physicians. Although I hope we won’t have to make significant use of their services, I feel as though we have a strong team working with us.



Three letters that say so much- we are finally DTC! This is the Chinese adoptive families community’s acronym for Dossier To China, or All Systems Go! Our complete application has been processed through our agency, filed, and overnighted to Beijing. Probably within a week, we’ll be logged in to the official system, and we’ll be ready to meet our future son or daughter!

In other news, our Sunday night dinners took an exciting turn, as we tried making bao for the first time. For those who aren’t familiar, bao is a steamed bun often filled with meat or vegetables. We made bbq and ginger pork bao– which turned out fantastic! We cheated by using this recipe for a lazy Sunday night dinner, but for our first time, they turned out wonderfully!

Anyone have any tips on cleaning bamboo steamer baskets?



Our life story– portrayed in state approved documents.

Close to 100 pages. Every page scrutinized by the State and the Consulate. Photos of our life and family, and pledge to be the best parents we can be. Incredibly detailed medical evaluations. I think I reached my breaking point when our home printer decided not to accept the newly purchased ink cartridge– my loud muttering (“HP garbage helpdesk!”) and foot stamping must have intimidated it enough, as a quick printhead cleaning later it decided it would cooperate.

Brian will be hand-delivering our dossier tomorrow to our agency. At that point, it’ll go into final review to make sure nothing is missing, and will then be whisked off to China to be logged in. Hopefully, the next time we hear from our agency, it will be with the news that we have a log-in-date and are eligible for a referral.

Our attention now turns to checking out pediatric specialists for our future son or daughter, but for tonight, we can rest and celebrate. I can’t believe we did it!

Great News

I saw it the minute the car turned off our street into our driveway.  As my friend backed out of the driveway, his headlights focused on the big white envelope tucked into our door.

It’s here! True to their word, the Consulate mailed all of our dossier back to us today. I ripped open the envelope the second I got into the door… and I’m thrilled to share happy news! The Consulate authenticated all of our documents, which means our completed dossier will be on its way to our agency first thing Monday morning, and will most likely arrive in China at the CCAA before the end of next week! As soon as we turn our dossier in to our agency next week, then all we have to do is just wait for The Big Phone Call!

Thank you again to all who are joining us in prayer and positive thoughts on this journey. We are incredibly grateful– and we have a long way to go!


A surprisingly refreshing break

As you’ve seen (or more appropriately haven’t seen), there hasn’t been much to update you on as of late. Our failed efforts at the Consulate has forced us to regroup, make a few changes to our dossier, and take a step back for a few weeks. Our agency has been incredibly kind and supportive to us, and our friends have bent over backwards to offer help– one dear friend even offered to courier some out-of-state documents for us!

The slight “break” from all the paperwork has been wonderful, and it’s given me a chance to begin to clean up our garden for the year and plan for my fall bulb planting. Now our little adoption hiatus has most likely come to a close, as our final document for state and Consulate processing should be coming in any day. That means I’ll be making my hopefully last trip to the Secretary of State and the Consulate early next week.

If the unexpected delay and slight backtracking has taught me anything, it’s that there will be setbacks during this adventure. To quote our fantastic coordinator, “You know first hand that adoption is not a 50 yard dash, but a marathon.” So for now we’ll take things day by day, and soon enough we’ll find ourselves in Beijing!


One reason for keeping this adoption journey blog is to be able to update friends and family when we experience successes and setbacks. Today, I have the pleasure of sharing happy news!

Even though we had our biometrics appointment with the USCIS on Friday, I decided to give a call to Our Government at lunchtime today to see if our prints were received and if we were assigned an immigration officer. As I’ve mentioned a few times before, the usual time frame for getting the official Federal Government Two Thumbs Up ™ takes between 60-90 days in total, with the approval coming in about at least a month or so after the appointment.

When I inquired today, a very friendly employee over at USCIS happily informed me that not only had we been assigned an immigration officer, but that they had approved our application for adoption the day we had our fingerprints taken! This is an approval time of less than 24 hours!

So now, we just wait for the official clearance document to submit with our dossier. This is the final little bit of dossier that we need to gather, and then it all gets sealed by the Chinese Consulate.

When the preparation and documentation process is this involved, you have to celebrate every victory. Today is a great day indeed!