Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Update on Ella

Yesterday we received a more detailed translation of Ella's physical examination. I think she looks to be quite healthy and developmentally right on target. Here are some highlights from her examination on 9/2/08:

  • 2 teeth
  • wakes at 7am, goes to bed at 8pm
  • naps from 1:30-3:30
  • eats at 6am, 10am, 1pm, 6pm, 11:30pm (we'll have to work on this one!)
  • moderate sleeper and sucks fingers
  • eats congee 3 times a day (congee is a porridge made of rice boiled soft and may have some eggs or veggies added for flavor)
  • eats milk plus rice cereal 2 times a day
  • favorite activity: sitting in walker
  • favorite toy: sounding toy (rattle or something?)
  • weighed 2.6kg (5.7 lbs) and was 45cm (17.7 inches) at birth (11/27/07)
  • small black spot on left arm
  • currently sits steady alone, turns over easily, stands for a moment while holding onto something, has fine hand/eye coordination, turns head and coos when called
  • "she is a quiet child, she likes imitation, she is quick in reaction, she likes to listen to music"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Frequently Asked Questions

There are 3 questions that we've been asked the most over the last couple of days. I'll try to answer each of them.

  1. When will you travel? Our agency has quoted that on average, families travel within 6-10 weeks of receiving referral. After we send our letter of acceptance back to China, court appointments are made for the adoption in Guangxi Province and also with the American Consolute in Guangzhou. Until we know the dates of these appointments, we cannot plan definitively any travel arrangements.
  2. What size is Ella? At the photos of Ella at 10 months, she weighed 14 lbs and was 27 inches long. That is approximately a 6-9 month clothing fit. As she will be about 14 months when we finally get her, I think that I will bring 12 month sized clothing.
  3. How do you pronounce her name? I have to give credit to a new 'internet friend' that helped me out with the pronunciation.

Guangxi Province = Gwang-shee

Xingye Social Welfare Institute (town of Xingye) = Sheeng-yeh (the letter E makes a sound like EH, just like the E in DEB)

Ella's given name (Ye Guidie)

Ye = yeh

Gui = gway

Die = deee-ah

The nannies in the orphanage most likely call her DieDie. Die means 'butterfly' in Mandarin.

Friday, December 12, 2008

She's Ready for Her International Debut!

And here she is....

Ella Guidie VanderGrinten

Given Name: Ye Guidie
Date of Birth: 11/27/07
Xingye Social Welfare Institute
Guangxi Province

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We Have a Daughter!

At 2:44pm today we received a call from our social worker. We are sooo pleased to announce the newest addition to our family:

Given Name: Ye Guidie
Born: 11/27/07
Province: Guangxi

At this point this is all the information we have. Tomorrow the referral packet with medical info, pictures, and other information will be forwarded to our social worker. We will meet with her late in the day to go over everything.

I am so relieved that this is finally happening. I wonder what her face will look like??? Will she have Ian's dimples?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And We Wait....a Little Bit Longer

So it's official...we missed the referral cutoff by 1 day! On November 11, the CCAA posted that they have officially referred babies to families with Log-in-Dates (LID) up to February 17, 2006. We have a LID of February 20, 2006 (2/18 - 2/19 was a weekend in 2006). I was quite upset and down in the dumps when that news came out.

But it's amazing what a week can do! Now we are focusing on us being first in line for the December referrals! I wish I had saved the email, but my friend Cathy really put the additional wait in perspective: In March 2007, Cathy's family missed their referral by one day also. They were referred Maeve in April. She wrote to me that if they had received referral in March, they wouldn't have the same baby. Maeve is so perfect for their family, they can't imagine life without her. So our waiting an extra month is just God's way of ensuring our Ella is meant to be OUR baby.

So another month of distraction projects. We've started our Christmas shopping, bought Bill a new snowblower (yes, he is excited for that first snow!) and ripped out the carpet and installed hardwood in our master bedroom. We've been enjoying Saturday night dinners with friends, and Ian is at a age that he can behave appropriately (usually!) if we bring him along. We know that once we are back home with Ella, we will again be housebound with a little one and only venture to fast-food or an occasional Culver's dinner as a night out!

With the holidays fast approaching, this month's wait will fly by I'm sure. Everything seems to be in fast-forward this time of year. And December will be a crazy month to try to get all travel preparations completed.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Long Adoption Process

It has been a long process. Here's a summary of what Bill & I have gone through...

  • Sept 2005 - started the "paper chase". This included FBI background checks and fingerprinting, letters of referral, medical reviews, homestudies by a social worker, etc. The toughest part of this was trying to get a newly-issued, certified copy of our marriage license. As we were married in Cancun, Mexico back in 1996, I had to enlist a Spanish-speaking co-worker to try to obtain this from the city hall in Cancun! Unfortunately the only Spanish I seem to be fluent in is "vacation Spanish" - cerveza, bano, por favor, hamburgesa...
  • Jan 26, 2006 - our dossier is sent to China. The dossier is basically the 'story of us', a booklet that not only shows China our legal clearances, but also gives them a feel for what type of family we are.
  • Feb 20, 2006 - This is the most important date in the process, it is called the Log-In-Date (LID). It is the day that the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) received our dossier and logs us into their queue.
  • March 2006 - Our dossier has made it through the CCAA's Review Room. This is where any problems with our dossier that would prevent us from adopting would be caught. For example a medical issue or a financial question.
  • March 2006 through November 2008 - Our dossier is sitting on a rack in a room (collecting dust if you notice the span in dates!). Every dossier is handled in a FIFO (first-in-first-out for those of you not in manufacturing) manner. Yes, there are that many dossiers in front of us. There are some unofficial estimates that as many as 30,000 dossiers are in the CCAA's backlog. The CCAA only gives referrals (assigns waiting babies to waiting families) once per month. When they issue referrals, they publish up to what LID they are through. When we started the process, the CCAA would issue a month's worth of LID at a time, and the expected wait was a little over 1 year. As the volume of dossiers increased dramatically, the CCAA started referring less and less LID, sometimes only 2 days worth sometimes.
  • Which brings us to today - as of this month, the CCAA has issued referrals for dossiers with LID up to 2/17/06. The good thing is, 2/18 and 2/19 were a Saturday and Sunday in 2006 (meaning no LID those dates). Therefore we are NEXT in line with a 2/20/06 LID. We will expect referral with the December batch of referrals.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Click to See Some Beautiful Pictures of the area in China where Ella is from

Maps of China

Where will Ella be from???