11/15/2006 - Home Safety Inspection today!!!
Today we had our home safety inspection by our social worker, Janet, for our home study. From what she told me today, she has started working on composing the home study and we are both hoping it to be finished by the time we come back from Disney (yes...I was hoping to have it done before, but we all know how that goes...). We passed with flying colors and I must say...even Francesca was wonderful! Another check to mark completed on the list...
11/10/2006 - DC Embassy...Here Come The Documents!
Our first set of documents were sent out today via FedEx to our courier service in the Washington DC area. Once they arrive at the courier's office, they must be first stamped at the US State Department, than they are off to the Chinese Embassy in DC. Only two documents went at this time...Keith's birth certificate and employer's letter. I don't expect to have them back until around the 28th of November, but I am in no hurry (seeing how we are still working on our home study). I can't begin to tell you how it felt to get the authentication process started, even though I know our PA documents still need to go through PA's State certification and than off to NYC Chinese Embassy....and this is only after our home study is completed & we receive our 171H, but it still feels so good to be this far.
11/8/2006 - One Year Ago Today....
One year ago today, we held Francesca Mei Leonard in our arms for the first time! I can't begin to describe what this past year has meant to us as a family. Sure we had our ups & downs, but it is still the greatest time ever experienced in our lives & I know it will continue to be..forever.
This one year anniversary of our "Gotcha Day" makes me what to get this paper chase finished and logged into the CCAA. We are really coming along with our home study & have scheduled the safety home inspection for next Wednesday, November 15th. I think we only need Keith to have his TB test done and one more interview, this time with Keith & I together...and I think that is it. I'll be able to talk to Janet next Wednesday & get a better idea on where we are at. When I talked to her today, she told me to have Dr. Kaville send in all the medical reports that are completed, which I called his office today to have them do that...so far. Looking good!
Well, I am signing off for today. Francesca is watching The Wiggles and is requesting my presence to join in on her fun.
Janie...really quick here...love you so very much...and thinking about you...especially today! Your sister screamed her head off once placed in my arms on her Gotcha Day...hope you do just the same. Plus, I had no clue on what I was doing...I didn't even know how to make a bottle! Thank God I had your father, but this time I am ready for it!
11/5/2006 - Received Dad's Birth Certificate back from VA!
On Friday, November 3rd, we finally received Daddy's birth certificate back from Virginia state certified. It only took about three weeks, but it is just one step closer to completing this paper chase (we already received our Maryland's documents that needed to be certified a few days ago). We are still working on the home study with Catholic Social Services and part of that is we both need to get a TB test. I had mine last week & Daddy is having his done the week of Thanksgiving. We also got our newly updated physician forms notarized this past Friday so it looks like all we are waiting on is the home study.
I am so sorry it has taken me so long to write, but with Francesca, life is crazy! Plus I am trying to get everything ready for the upcoming holidays and our vacation trip to Disney that is happening in three weeks. I know it is going to be a long time before we even get a chance to see your face, but I know that it will happen & Daddy and I are so excited! (and so well worth the wait) There are days that I wonder to myself...if I can really handle another child running around, but I truly know in my heart that I will be the best mom I can to you & your sister. Life does get crazy in the Leonard household, but we do have a lot of fun & a whole-lot-of love for our family. Take care my dear daughter...Love, Mom
10/23/2006 - First piece of our paper chase document stamped!
We got back our first piece of the documents that have been sent out for certification. It was your Dad's employer's letter that we sent to Maryland's County Clerk's office. It arrived to us on Saturday and I sent it off to Maryland's State Office for its certification.
Your Dad has his first meeting with Catholic Social Services home study social worker this past Friday as well. My first meeting is tomorrow morning. Your father said that it went very well and I am sure mine will go just as smoothly. I know this is such a long process, but it is so well worth it! I can't wait until we bring you home and we become a family of 5 (including Honey).
Take care my little sweet daughter...Mommy is right here...already loving you to pieces!
10/18/2006 - We Started the Certification Process!
YES! We started the certification process. I know I said before that I was thinking about holding off for a little while, but I figured I might as well start now! On Monday October 16th, I sent your Dad's employer's letter to Maryland County Clerk's Office to be certified before going to the state & I sent your Dad's birth certificate off to Virginia's State office to be certified as well. I used the USPS for mailing them (and returning them to us) so we'll see how long it takes. That all for right now...I'll keep you posted!
10/14/2006 - WE GOT OUR FINGERPRINTS DONE IN PHILADELPHIA!
YES! We got our fingerprinting done yesterday in Philadelphia on Friday, October 13th. This time, it was a whole family event...Grandma, Auntie, Aunt Lisa, Uncle Scott and even Little Scotty were there along with Daddy, Francesca and me! We meet another really nice couple that has been LID with China since October 2005 and this was there second time around for fingerprinting. They told us that they estimate their referral will come in some time between November or December of this year! They were so excited to talk to us & were also so excited about seeing Francesca. The only time I got a little teary eyed was when I was standing there waiting to hand in our arrival application forms and I started thinking about when we were there last time and how different things are this time. I couldn't stop thinking about you!
Well, it looks like we will not be DTC by December 2006. It is looking more like January or even February 2007. Our social worker with our home study has a lot of stuff that still needs to be answered by us and we still have all the certification & authentication to do (even though I am going to start it within the next week or two). I talked to Amy and she said that they too won't be ready any time soon...so it looks like it might be just a little longer.
10/2/2006 - OK...So now we have a little problem...
As usually, nothing can go smooth for Keith & I (no exceptions on this second adoption). We just found out today that the blood work results we had done for our first adoption can't be used as results for our 2nd adoption medical forms. I called CCAI today & they told me the blood work needs to be within one year current from our 2nd adoption's LID. I than called our doctor's office & explained the situation & I am waiting on them to get back to me. I also have to call our friend, Tina, who came to the doctor's appointment this past week & notarized our forms and see if she can come once again to the doctor's office once the results are in. I know for sure we won't be having the blood work this week (I am traveling to Virginia for Little Andy's first birthday party & Keith won't be home until next weekend). I know this is nothing BIG, but I was really hoping to start the certification and authentication process after our fingerprints on the 13th. Well, knowing how the process went last time...I should of had expected something! Still. we are trying to be DTC in December of 2006 or January 2007...only time will tell.....
9/28/2006 - Home Study is Almost Completed!
On Wednesday, September 27th, we had one of our finally steps to completing the home study with Catholic Social Service. Keith & I completed and passed our Child/Infant CPR & First Aid Class. This was the last thing we needed...besides our FBI clearance to complete the home study. I talked to Mr. Casey this morning & he told me to send in everything we have & once our clearance comes in, the home study will be completed (I am dropping it off all the paper work we have so far at Mr. Casey's office tomorrow). Our fingerprints will be taken on October 13th. Other than that...I am pretty much at a stand still. I have everything together for our dossier, except the home study completion and our 171H.
Hey Janie! Can you believe how much work your father & I have accomplished...so far? It is amazing! We talk about you so often and Francesca is just thrilled to pieces over becoming a big sister. We can wait to see you face and than wrap our arms around you & hold you so tight! It is a long journey ahead, but we know that it is one that is so well worth every minute.
9/25/2006 - So Much Has Happen...In Such Short Time!!!
Happy Anniversary to Keithie Honey & Me!
Let me start off by saying I can't believe what has happened over the past few days! First of all, we had our doctor's appointment regarding our medical forms we need for our dossier on Friday, September 22nd. After our doctor's appointment, we had a ton of papers notarized for our dossier as well. Now on today, September 25th (our 7th year wedding anniversary), we already received our notice from INS that they received our I600A application and we can get our fingerprinting done. WOW! I can't believe how fast things are happening. Once we get our fingerprinting done & we are waiting on that...I am going to start the certification & authentication process. Now that's when things really start getting confusing. So I guess it looks like we are getting our fingerprints done on October 13th (and rumor has it that it is taking 5 weeks to receive the 171H or 797C once your fingerprints are done). And we still have our home study to complete, but there are only a few things left there as well...
9/20/2006 - FINALLY GOT OUR I600A SENT IN!!!!
We finally got our I600A sent in for our federal criminal record clearance yesterday on the 19th. This is just the application, so we can go get our fingerprints done and than our clearance completed...along with our home study. I am really hoping that when we are in Philadelphia on October 13th, visiting the zoo, we will be able to get our fingerprinting done at INS. During Francesca's adoption process, it was two weeks from sending in our I600A and getting back the reply to go get our fingerprints done...hoping it is the same for this time. I also sent in the remaining balance owed to CCAI for your adoption. Everything is moving along. At times, it seems to be moving along slowly, but than there are other times, when the days are flying by. It still is a long wait once we do get our paper work approved by the agency and logged in with the CCAA (China's Council of Adoption Affairs), but it is so worth it! There are days I am playing with your sister and can't wait until you are finally home. Mom & Dad love you so very much!
9/5/2006 - Received Our Police Clearances TODAY!!!
September 5th...Today we received our Police Clearance Check Forms back to us and both have been notarized and signed for the adoption (last time we had a small problem...our clearances we never notarized when processed). This time I was smart about the whole thing. I sent a little letter stating that we need these notarized when processed for our international adoption. One more completed paper chase form to mark off our list!
Well Janie, life here in your soon-to-be home has been crazy! Your older sister, Francesca, is keeping us all very busy. You guys are going to have so much fun together. I know it is a long time off before we even have to start thinking about traveling again to China, but my mind is already working on over time. We all can't wait to see your beautiful face and wrap our arms around you & bring you home! Love Always, Mom
9/1/2006 - Moving Along the Paper Chase trail...
September 1st...As this new month begins, I begin to notice that everything this time around is really coming together so much more easier and faster than the last time. I have about 80% of our home study information together to hand into Catholic Social Service (hoping to have that completed by the end of the month). We are going to file our I-600A application within the month and according to the check list of documents needed for our dossier, all we need is our Financial Statement (which I am going to work on this weekend), our Physical Exam Forms (which we have an appointment with Dr. Kaville on the 27th), our police clearance reports (which have already been sent in), our I-171H (which we can't do until our I600A is filed and we have our fingerprinting done) and last but not least, our home study (which too can't be completed until we receive our I-171H).
While we are waiting on the I-171H to arrive, I am planning on starting the notarization, certification and authentication process with all the other documents.
On Thursday, August 31st, we did receive our child abuse clearances for our home study.
8/23/2006 - We Signed & Sent Off Today CCAI's Contract!!!
August 23...Today is the day that we sent our contract to CCAI along with our first payment installment. Amy and Owen are sending theirs out today as well. Wow, this is really happening...again! There are days I think I am not ready for this (especially when Francesca is in one of her moods), but I want her and Janie to enjoy a life together with us as their family. The home study is still coming along, but at such a slow pace it seems. I am really trying to get everything together that we need, but it does seem like it is taking forever. I did receive our first letter of recommendation yesterday from one of Francesca's teachers, Miss Angela, and it is perfect. One down, four more to go.
As you for my precious, little Janelle...I can't wait until this paper chase is over and I can really focus on bringing you home. Your Daddy is always talking about you to Francesca and she keeps looking around for you...as if to say...OK where are you hiding! I am really trying to get everything completed...as much as I can...so we can get your dossier sent off and logged in with the CCAA. And than the fun begins...just sitting around and wait. I love you so much already and I can't wait to see your beautiful face.
8/21/2006 - Sending Out Criminal Record Clearances TODAY!
August 21st...Nothing too much to report from this past week of August 13th to the 19th except that we finally are getting our State Police Clearances out in the mail for our Criminal Record check. We are hoping to have them back within the next few weeks. I started really getting some of the forms filled out for our 2nd home study and we are planning on getting Francesca's application for a US passport sent out this coming weekend. I have to make a few phone calls today. I need a copy of my degree from Keystone College and I have to call to schedule CPR/First Aid class for Keith and myself. Like I said before...we are moving along, but it seems to be at a slow pace....
8/13/2006 - Moving along the paper chase trail!
OK, I have to start out with this before I type anything else. This is our first online journal & I am not sure what I am doing. I am learning as I go along (trying to figure out how to post photos to each page) & I really am going to try to post as much information as I can. With that said, here we go...
On Friday, August 11th, Keith and I met with our new home study agency. It is Catholic Social Services in Scranton, PA. Even though a lot of the information will come from our home study for Francesca, we still have a lot of paper work, research and interviews to do. From what the director told us, Pennsylvania has changed their regulations as of Feb. 2006 and I can't believe what they are requesting from adoptive parents now to complete a home study. My goal is to work on Janie's paper chase at least 1 hour a day. So much of the stuff I have already, but needs to be photo copied & my printer is not working...so I have to load and carry everything up to Grandma's to get it copied there. I am also working on some other projects here at home, so my life has been very busy.
While we were in Scranton on Friday, Keith and I stopped at the post office to get a bunch of passport photos taken (needing them for our Dossier and travel documents), got two $10 money orders for our child abuse clearances...yes we need to have them done again...and got an application for Francesca's passport...which I am hoping to have ready for sending in by the end of the month. Like I said before, so far so good!
Just for you Janie...Hey there! Mommy, Daddy & Francesca are so excited! Your Daddy & I talk about you always and Francesca is loving the idea of having a baby sister (when we ask her if she wants a baby sister...she shakes her head yes!) Grandma is going to try & make it this time around to China with us. I think traveling with Francesca is going to be a little bit of a challenge. Your paper chase is going to take some time, but our goal is to have it complete and logged in with the CCAA by Dec. 2006/Jan or Feb 2007. It seems so far away, but as the days roll by, I know that it is not. Loving you today, tomorrow and forever, Mom
8/10/2006 - YES! We started the process again!
Well, the paper chase has started again for our next Chinese adoption. I made a promise last time when we were going through the process for Francesca, that Keith has the upper hand on naming this daughter & the name he wants is Janelle aka Janie. It is unusual enough for my taste and it has grown on me. So Janie it is....
This blog is not only for family & friends to enjoy, but it is also for Janie to know exactly what we went through to bring her home. The whole process, from paper chasing to travel, is taking almost 24 months (not like with Francesca's adoption where the whole process took us only 14 months). So here it begins...
We sent in our application to CCAI on August 1st 2006. The Weaver/Winkler family aka Amy, Owen & Katie are also in the paper chase again for their 2nd adoption as well with CCAI too. Amy and I are trying our best to have our second daughters come from the same orphanage as the Francesca and Katie were from. We have become great friends with the Amy, Owen & Katie and would not want to have this done any other way.
On August 9, we received confirmation from our agency, CCAI, that we have been accepted into the adoption program again, but "round two" of our paper chase already started back on July 22nd. Let's just say, I am on a roll! Keith & I have our first meeting tomorrow with Catholic Social Services for our home study and our I 600a form is all ready to go.
I do have some sad news today that I must mention. Our little dog...my baby boy...Hank is being put to eternal rest at 4pm. He has fought a long battle with a seizure disorder and now it is time for him to give up the fight, not suffer anymore and go to heaven where he can run, jump and play like the dog he once was. It is breaking my heart to have to do this, but Keith & I made the decision a long time ago to not ever let one of our boys suffer. Hank is laying here next to me as I am typing this (as he always has done), but that sparkle in his eyes are gone and he is too tired to fight with whats going on inside of him. I already said my good byes to him, but it is still a very sad day. Francesca is truly going to miss him & Janie is missing out on one great companion, but he will always be in our hearts and there will never be a day that doesn't go by that I won't think about him. He is my baby...my bold little boy...my angel...my buddy...that I will never forget...
Janie, this is just for you my dear. It is going to take some time to bring you home and I am 100% sure that you have not been born yet, but you are so loved already by everyone and we are all so very excited to meet you and bring you home. Love, Mom