Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Disney :)

Hooray I'm going to Disney!

They are running a special, if you buy a 5 night, 6 day package mid August through the end of Sept, you get a FREE meal plan. Basically $150 of Disney food for free. You get 5 meals from the counter style restaurants and 5 meals from the nicer sit down places. You also get 5 little snacks. Did I mention it covers tax, tips, drinks and deserts? For those of you who have visited Disney, it can be a $30 a day food proposition! So ask me how much this trip is going to cost me? A whole $435 because I'm splitting it with my mom!

As an added bonus I booked a room with HoJo in Kissimmee for the night before our Disney package starts (its a 10-12 hour drive down there, don't want to waste a Disney night) and found the same room cheaper on hotels.com and HoJo gave me the room for free! YAY!

Update! - We added an extra night to the package because I wasn't thinking clearly about timelines. For $40 each we added an extra night of hotel and that included another day of food so now we have an even 6 days of tickets and 6 days of food. We'll also have a place to sleep after the parks that Friday and not have to find another place to crash at. With a good nap I can be a smartie!

Ha ha ha

How funny, I just reread all my old posts. One says that I am mad I'll be in China in July when its really hot.

The reason that is so funny is that referrals have slowed down BIG time. My anticipated July trip will be stretched out to spring of 2007, if not early summer. In the past, CCAA had been matching 30 days of dossiers every 30 days. Now they are doing 3-7 days of dossiers every 30 days.

I don't think it will stretch out to 2 years for a referral but I do now think it will be 12-14 months. My new guess for a referral is Feb 2007 with travel in April. We'll see how close I am.

So how do I plan now for DD#2? I'd like to have 2.5-3 years between the girls. It seems like if I return from China April 2007 that I would have be put right back on the waiting list to start paperwork the following spring and to be DTC Dec 2008 with a referral in 2009/2010. It just seems rushed on my end, but really most of the time I'll just be waiting.

There is also the threat of not getting to complete a second adoption because of rules changing with CCAA. So what is a girl to do? Start paperwork to be DTC one year after the first adoption with just 2 years inbetween them so I know I'll have a second daughter? That puts my 5 year $ plan out of whack since it will reduce my time to save for the new house I'll need by the time Charlotte is in kindergarten.

I guess I'll just hang tight and keep saving up $. Good news, with my June 15th paycheck, I will have saved enough for the first adoption :) I'll then start on Julia's adoption (for those of you who know me, DD#1 will be Charlotte, it hit me last night that THIS WAS THE NAME but I am still hanging on to Julia because I just like it).

On your mark...get set...go!

Its yard sale time in TN! I think I've mentioned before but I love to buy other people's junk and not pay full price for things. Especially baby things, they play with stuff and wear stuff for such short periods of time, I feel like its wasteful to buy everything new.

Saturday was a great yard sale day. I've wanted an interactive table for Charlotte for awhile now but didn't want to pay $40 for it. I got one in 98% new condition for $5 :) It says all kinds of stuff and sneezes when you spin the salt and pepper. I think every baby needs something like that!

I also got the peek a blocks elephant that I wanted and the Noah's Ark that I didn't want but bought anyway (I'm thinking this will go back in my yardsale on Sat!). I also got her some little rubber duckies and the Sonya Lee McDonalds fisher price figure that I've wanted for a long time (does that mean I don't have to eat Happy Meals anymore? YAY!).

At another sale I got the best electronic toy on the planet. It is a Baby Einstein toy that plays 8 songs that aren't high pitched and annoying like a lot of little baby toys. It has four notes on top that the baby can pound on while the music is playing and you can choose from piano, violin and a flute. Its rare that I see a baby toy that I would of paid full price for, but this would of been it. I've been searching for a new one for a backup but no luck, it must of been discontinued.
I also got a pair of like new Baby Gap jeans with butterflies on them for $2 and a Little Me outfit with tags for $3.

Good day!

More History...

Oct 18, 2005 - I sent my dossier to Carol at Dependable Courier and paid her $130 to take my docs to the State Department and the Chinese Consulate in DC. She is super nice and is really good about emailing me to let me know what is going on. She is an adoptive mom and knows how important all these papers are!Carol got my dossier yesterday and made the rounds and left my dossier at the Consulate. She will pick it back up on Monday and FedEx it back. I’ll have it on Tuesday and Living Hope will have it on Wednesday! WOOHHOOOO

And through all this, I’ve not mentioned the best part! We thought Carla and Ben were going to be a month behind us, but their 171H showed up really really early. So now it will be me, Kathy (who is having 171H issues, but WILL make it!) Carla and Ben. Half of Living Hope’s travel group will be leaving the Tri-Cities together :)

Oct 24, 2005 - Carol called and told me my home study was rejected at the consulate because of a typo in “The People’s Republic of China”. She is going to send it back to me so I can get a new version and re-authenticate it :(

Oct 27, 2005 - Home study is on it’s way to Nashville and my social worker and I have worked out an arrangement for the extra cost. To authenticate one document with same day service at the consulate is $118 with FedEx fees!

Our records indicate that the following shipment has been delivered:

Tracking number: 792429314299
Ship (P/U) date: Nov 3, 2005
Delivery date: Nov 4, 2005 13:33 PM
Recipient Information
Heather Hess
Living Hope Adoption Agency
3205 Meetinghouse Road
Telford, PA 18969

Dear Santa.........

October 17, 2005
You don't know me but that is ok, neither does my mom!
I would like this fun farm for Christmas. If you want to buy it for mommy for her birthday that is ok too. She says she doesn't need fun loot like I do and I've told her I'll let her play with it too.
P.S. The noise making running around monkey is for the cats- thanks!


October 6, 2005 - WOOHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO It’s here! My 171H came today, yay! It was way late but it’s here YAY!
October 11, 2005 - Mom and I drove to Knoxville to county certify my home study doc. We went shopping in Pigeon Forge. I got the baby a Lilo plush doll, a Lilo T-shirt and a beach umbrella from the Disney outlet. I also got bought myself a Tinkerbell T-shirt. They were have a 50% off the lowest price sale, I could of spent hundreds! For those of you who don’t already know, the Disney Outlet is in the 5 Oaks Outlets, the nice ones with the green roof. You go all the way to the back. If you want Disney plush to decorate your nursery, this is the place to buy them. Super nice ones for $10 each instead of $20, I was really good and didn’t get any :)

October 13, 2005 - I got all my other docs county certified in Jonesborough for my Washington County notary! Bonnie also redid my medical form for me YAY BONNIE!

October 17, 2005 -I drove to Nashville today to get my TN seals. Halfway through the drive I started thinking I should of just mailed them in. But much to my surprise, one of my docs was wrong! For those of you who are authenticating a divorce decree, it is a blue thing from Nashville, not what the judge signed and certified from your county. Luckily the Vital Records office was about 3 blocks away and I was able to walk there and get what I needed. So it was a good thing I drove, I would of ended up paying two sets of FedEx, that’s like $75!
I also got to see Amy (Hi Amy!) and we had Vietnamese food. Very good, sort of light Chinese with raw veggies tossed in. We also went shopping; I got the book “What to Expect the First Year” at Goodwill for a whole 50 cents. It is a very opinionated book with some outdated info, I am glad I just paid 50 cents. For those who haven’t read it, she thinks everyone should breastfeed and use disposable diapers. Sort of irked this cloth diaper using bottle feeding future mom. Just a heads up!

I also bought the baby the Fisher Price Sound Stables to go with her other farm sets. I have the big huge variety pack, the small “Well” pack and this now :)


September 24, 2005

I’ve not posted all month long because I’ve not had anything good to report. This week especially has been really bad, several yucko things happened. Most of all I am very frustrated, my 171H is a couple of weeks late and it has dropped me into Nov for DTC. So now I’ll be in China in July when it’s boiling hot. ARG!

One happy thing, I found my car seat. Ask me if I really plan to spend $270 on a car seat. Sure, people spend thousands on cars; $270 is just a drop in the bucket. She’ll use it for 5 years too, so it’s a whole $4.50 a month to ensure the safest ride possible for my little one. Did I mention it’s PINK!!??!! :)

Look at me getting all organized!

When you decide to bring a child into your life, the first thing you do is make a list of everything broken in your life. I own too much junk, I am too messy, I'm not organized enough.

So this is the time for me to get my act together, while I wait for my referral. This is just a baby step, but I am combining my notebook and my old "blog" into this new shiney one. I wanted a printable record that I could keep for my little one so she could have some insight to her mom. So here are some snippets of what has happened in the last year.

April 2004-June 15, 2005 - Waiting, shopping, whining about the wait, shopping to make it all better :) I met a new buddy, Kathy who was also single who is using Living Hope (hi Kathy!). Since we were activated together, our paperchases (as long as things go smoothly) will be completed at the same time. That means we will travel together and our little girls will be from the same orphanage! Carla (hi Carla!) and her hubby are also on the same timeline with Living Hope so it looks like the three (err four) of us will traveling together. Yay!

June 3, 2005 - Medical - Thanks to Bonnie for helping me sort out the medical part of my dossier. Thank you thank you thank you!!

June 22, 2005 - That awful sound you heard around three, was my bank account. I paid Living Hope, paid for my homestudy and paid for the I-600. $4745! Ouch! Also, nothing like being over prepared, I have created the Nov DTC group! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dtcNOV2005/

June 28, 2005 - Homestudy – Part One - I met with Sharon at Sunamis in Gray. It wasn’t a bit scary until she mentioned coming to the house just the next week. I had some much little stuff to finish up! I had a head start on my homestudy because I requested info from Sharon months ago and I was able to give her a lot of stuff at the first meeting. If you want a speedy homestudy, do your bio in advance.

July 5, 2005 - Homestudy Part Two- The inspection part dum dum dum (<- ominous music) I think she was ok with most stuff. I have decking issues that will be fixed more towards the fall once I am DTC. I also have little stuff everywhere that needs to be finished. I have a whole year to finish up things so it was nice she didn’t want it done right now!

July 7, 2005 - Got my INS papers back, forgot my divorce decree. ARG!

July 15, 2005 - Homestudy done! I forgot what days the other two meetings were, everything is a blur when you are super busy. I also got my I-600 receipt back from INS, where is my fingerprinting letter?

July 23, 2005 - Tada! Fingerprinting letter! I’ll be in Nashville Thursday July 27th fingerprinted. I am going to crash at Amy’s house and eat sushi! Fun fun!

August 1, 2005 -Where is my 171H? (for those of you who have already adopted, I didn’t appreciate that snort..ha!). No really, I should expect it around the 3rd week of Sept, which will be 8 weeks. Until then, I will have to bore you with shopping stories and stories about other people’s babies!
Boy do we have a cutie in the group, little Olivia. She likes to bounce! Tonight was our monthly local meeting and her shower, lots of good food and lots of fun watching the kids run around. Michelle my new buddy (Hi Michelle!) who is adopting with another agency (boo hisss because she won’t get to travel with us) is way ahead of me and got to come to her first meeting. I can’t believe how strong she is being, she just bought her first 2 baby outfits and she will be DTC any minute now. For those of you who don’t know me well, I am a yard sale-r and I have hundreds of little outfits. A lot of them end up at the consignment store because I can only cram so many in her little closet :)

August 17, 2005 - I also got my final grade for my very last class and I’m never going back to school again yay! I officially now have an IT degree and MIS degree, I am now a super nerd! :)

August 31, 2005 - YIKES! Hurricane Katrina has officially destroyed New Orleans and has made it much harder for our gas to be shipped up the Mississippi up to Knoxville where it is stored. Local prices have jumped to 2.99-3.39 for 87 octane and 92 is sold out. The federal government says 92 percent of the Gulf Coast`s oil output has been shut-down due to Katrina. If you can get over the destruction, watching the impact of oil on the economy is very interesting.

Who am I?

Greetings, my name is Kim. I am 31 years old, single and live in TN. Here is the exciting part of my life....... I am adopting a little girl from China :)

Now before you start thinking "oh how trendy", its not that at all. When I was 19, I saw a documentary special on the children living in orphanages in China. It broke my heart, too many children, not enough resources. I looked around......at the time I had a cute little condo and was going to college. I was college poor but really is that poor? I had a two bedroom place all to myself, I had a nice car and I had a dad that was willing to pay thousands so I could attend college and better myself. Ya, poor pitiful me, who had to eat PB&J sandwiches a few times a month...I had no idea what poor really was.

So after I gave myself a good kick in the rear, I knew that I'd be visiting China to adopt a daughter someday.

I was married from ages 21 to 25 and that didn't work out and we didn't have kids. I had decided I didn't really want to be married again but still wanted a little girl. So I decided China was the best option for my first child...you see I KNEW I'd always go there, but thought that little girl would be my last, not my first. So at the age of 25, I made a 5 year plan:

  • Fall of 2001, I started at a community college to get an IT associates degree.
  • June of 2002 I found my fixer upper house...whew what a mess! But the price was right (DIRT CHEAP) and it was something I could see myself and a baby living in. It is just 1050 SF with three little bedrooms, but really more space than what I use. I have a nice little yard, a basement and a deck..what else could a girl want?
  • June 2003, I started at a bank as a collections agent. What a horrid job, being yelled at all the time. But it was $10 an hour and I was able to put most of my money into the house.
  • Fall of 2003, I started at a regular 4 year college to get a MIS degree (Management Information Systems) .
  • December of 2003, I applied for a documentation job at the bank and I got it! I was now an exempt employee and making way more than $10 an hour. Plus I got 34 paid days off a year, wild huh?
So forward on to March 2004. I knew that China adoption rules had changed, I could now be 30 instead of 35 to adopt a baby girl. But what I didn't know, was the waiting list rules that had been put into place to help with the waiting times for single women (and a couple of brave men!). So at 29, I got on my waiting list because I knew it would be a year before I got to start and I had gotten the job that put me over the income requirement. I was good to go.

Funny how in March 2004, I was really ok with the wait. Around Nov 2004 I had decided I'd had enough with waiting. I don't know really why I was being so impatient, I had certain financial things to take care of (pay off the house, consolidate my student loans, pay off my Home Depot card) that wouldn't be done until first quarter 2005. So I pretty much had a quiet poor pitiful me party for 8 months until June 2005 when I got the call to start my paperwork.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the China Adoption program, its a lot of red tape. I appreciate their thoroughness, I believe they really want to place children with the best candidates that they can. But what I don't understand is how everything needs to be stamped/authenticated FOUR times before it hits China. Insane! But anyway, I started the paperwork of a home study, local police clearance, FBI clearance, a financial statement, a guardianship letter, an employment letter, my birth certificate, my divorce papers & a letter saying I wasn't a lesbian. I thought the latter was funny, I wanted to put To Whom It May Concern...I like boys...I don't know about men.......I'll let you know when I meet one!

Anyhooo, I wrapped up all my paperwork and made the 11-14-05 cutoff for it to be shipped to China. I was "logged in" (known as LID) on December 5, 2005 all while finishing up my MIS degree August 2005. I am getting my diploma on May 6, 2006 due to an office paperwork issue, but its all good since I already have a career position with Citi, the company I'll retire from :)

And now I'm just waiting...and waiting.........................................