Thursday, August 17, 2006

Are You Back Already?

Okay, I know I have not posted much to this blog lately. My excuse? We have been a tad bit busy!

Between getting the the Biggest Sister and Big Brother ready for school, a vacation to Yellowstone and a new school for the Big Sister, we have been hopping a bit around here. Yesterday was the first day of school and my homework was to cover what seemed like 58 books (okay it was only 6, but sheesh!). Tonight we took a breather and rode bikes to the park. The Dad is out of town, so just me and the kids. The big kids' new chore is to do the dinner dishes and I am already liking this A LOT.

So, the title contains the most Frequently Asked Question. No, we have not gone to China yet (sigh). But, I know I have not posted much about the process, so I thought it would be helpful to tell everyone about the BIG WAIT.

On July 10, we sent off our Letter of Intent (LOI) to adopt Little Brother. The clock then starting ticking away. The next critical milestone is when we get a "Travel Notice" or what some call a "Travel Approval". This is basically a notice from the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) that our paperwork has been approved and that we may set an appointment with the US Consulate in Guangzhou. This travel notice is expected to come about 60-90 days after we sent off our LOI.

So, when will the TA come? Well, on the Waiting Child Yahoo! Group, there is a really great woman who tracks the dates for all the people who will send her their info in a truly spectacular spreadsheet that is posted for all to see (this is really wonderful for us engineer types). The average wait right now for a TA is 82 days. Today, we are on day 38, so I am thinking we are halfway there? We really won't know until we get that TA! Many people who have dates in mid June are hoping to get their TA in the next week or so (the rumor is that the director who must sign the TA's is in Mongolia right now and will sign them when he returns). It is possible that our TA could be in the next batch that comes (perhaps at the end of the month or the first week in Sept), although I am thinking it is more likely that it will be about the second to third week in Sept.

Next milestone? Get the consulate appointment set. Once the consulate appointment is set, our departure date can be set. We will depart about 2-4 weeks after getting our TA.

Here is where there may be a small problem..... In October, the first week is a national holiday like Labor Day that lasts the full week. Also, in Guangzhou, where the US Consulate is located, there is a major trade fair that is held the last two weeks in Oct. I understand that it can be VERY difficult to get a hotel room at all, much less at a reasonable price during this two weeks. UGHH!! So, the best thing will be to get that TA early enough that our agency can schedule our travel such that we can get to Guangzhou for the second week of our trip before mid Oct.

Clear as mud? Yeah, I figured. Well, the bottom line is that we are praying for a TA by mid September. So, if you didn't understand a lick of all the stuff I typed above, you can just say a prayer for a TA before mid September!