Well, we are waiting for the UPS truck, or the Fed Ex truck, to pull up to our house and deliver the LOA, or "Letter of Acceptance" which was signed on Tuesday in China, and is en route to us. Once the LOA arrives, Matt and I will sign it, and next-day it to Maryland, who will then send it off to China again. At that point we wait for TA or Travel Approval, and then a CA, consulate appointment. (Are you confused yet?) Once we get the CA we can book our flights. The bottom line is that we are somewhere around 6 to 8 weeks from traveling. I know that sounds like a long time to most of you, but it sounds like minutes after waiting two years for Shane.
At this point, we can begin to put things in order for what we will need. We went to China in February last time, so our suitcases will be packed very differently traveling in September or so! No winter coats, gloves, sweatshirts! Truthfully, it was not all that cold in China when we were there, and I hate the heat...ugh. But, Matt and I are traveling with Sophie, and are planning on laying low with tours and traveling around the city where we go.
Because Shane is now in foster care, and has not been in the orphanage for more than a year, we are not planning a trip there this time. For Sophie, the orphanage visit was important and meaningful as she knew the people well who had cared for her. Shane will not remember the orphanage or the people there, and the trip is two hours from the province capital. As it is, two days before that he will have traveled two hours to come to us, so we don't need to put him through that.
We are expecting a more difficult time with Shane's transition than we had with Sophie. Because he has been with his foster family for a while, we will be taking him away from the only family he has known. (He was brought to the orphanage at 7 months) Added to the trauma, we will not be familiar to him at all, will not speak his language, etc. To help to buffer this for him, last week we sent him a tape player, lots of batteries, and a tape of songs and one of Matt and I talking to him, singing to him, and reading him stories. Our hope is that by hearing our voices, he will have some comfort that he has heard them before, and was told that we were his family and would love him and care for him. In addition, I wrote him a letter, which will be translated into Chinese by the agency liaison, and I Brailled the letter for him to have to 'see' the words we sent to him. I so hope this help. In any event, we are prepared for the grieving process that is so common for children who are adopted internationally. And then again, Sophie will be there, and she will be all over him with love and hugs and kisses!!! Hearing her laugh, it is very hard to stay sad!
Keep checking in. Once we get closer to traveling, I will route you to a new site to follow our journey as it is an easier site to download pictures and info in China. (You cannot use blogger in China...imagine that)