the homepage of gregory and ann kline

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Big Apple

We are on our way to The Big Apple, New York City!! Okay, maybe not us exactly. Let me back up.

Last Wednesday I finally got tired of waiting for our home study to show up. I called the agency, got the tracking number of the package, and discovered that it would be waiting for me when I got home. This also means that a copy was sent to USCIS. On USCIS's website, they state that it should take 3 weeks from the time they get everything until we receive our I-171H (the document we need to get matched with our little boy). The clock is ticking! It usually takes 6-8 weeks for the I-171H to come back but I can officially start bugging them in less than 3 weeks.

I took a vacation day from work on Thursday. I got up early, read the fine print over and over again, checked documents over and over again, and then checked it all one more time. I headed off to FedEx. Greg and I had to set up a FedEx account so when we send out documents they can all be traced, since these documents are so valuable. After talking to two people at FedEx about what I needed to do to send my package to a courier in Harrisburg and then have everything included for her to send everything on to a courier in NYC and have everything included for them to send everything back to me, I think I finally got it set up. It was hard to hand that envelope over to be shipped out. Inside was the life history of Greg and me. It was almost as if Greg and I were in there ourselves, being shipped via FedEx to get our son. I handed over the package and told the woman that it was the most important thing I ever mailed.

All was going well until I had this little freak-out. I had put the tracking number from the shipping slip into our personal account online, so we could find out just where that package was. The package was supposed to be in Harrisburg by Friday. By Saturday morning the tracking number online was still reading "no status". Greg checked to see if he could find the charge of the shipping marked in any of his accounts. When he didnt find anything, I announced that I was going to FedEx. Greg and I (and the dog) all jumped in the car and went to FedEx. It took everything I had to not start crying as soon as I walked in FedEx. I demanded to know where my package was. First they said they couldnt tell me, that I had to call the hotline. Then they looked it up for me. According to what they knew, it had been delivered on Friday, just like it was supposed to. Greg and I went home and discovered that I had typed in the tracking number wrong. Oops! Problem solved.

This morning I got an email from the first courier service we used, the one in Harrisburg. Everything has been certified and she shipped it off the the courier service in NYC for the authentication at the Guatemalan Embassy!! Off to NYC we go! (If we were to mail our things directly to the Harrisburg office for processing, it could take 3-8 weeks. For a few extra dollars, this was so worth it.) I cant believe that we have made it this far in the process. It seemed like it would never come. We are at the point now where all we can do is wait - wait for everything to be returned from the authentication process, wait for our approval from USCIS, and ultimately wait to be matched with our son.



Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Embassy Update

Just a quick note of thanks to everyone who wrote their CongressCritters about the reported problems at the US Embassy in Guatemala. We've received a few confirmations that PA Senator Santorum has directed an inquiry to the State Department. Of course that's no guarantee that anything will change, but at least somebody's asking some questions, which might help. We'll keep you updated if we hear anything else.



Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Doing a Happy Dance

Come on everyone! Join me in a happy dance! Look foolish! Be silly! I promise it is for a good cause!

First, our Home Study should be done today! This is HUGE! DeNese, our social worker, sent us the rough draft last night for review. Today it was sent to the agency for them to review. They will overnight a copy to USCIS and also send us several copies. What's the big deal? This is the last thing that USCIS needs to process our I-600A and approve us to adopt internationally. Once we get approval to adopt internationally, we will be matched with our son!! The unfortunate part is that this can take 6-8 weeks. The USCIS claims that if you don't hear back from them in 3 weeks that you should contact them. I have every intent at 3 weeks and 1 day to be on the phone. In fact, I think USCIS needs to be added to my speed dial.

Second, Greg and I were rather depressed last week. We didn't realize a few steps involved with getting our FBI Clearances. We should have had these done first thing, but instead waited until almost last. When we found out that it takes 6-8 weeks for this go get back, we were just heart broken that things would never progress. Yesterday I opened the mailbox with my fingers crossed that the new CD I ordered was in there. No CD but no worries. Instead was a giant envelope containing our FBI Clearances!! We got it back in a week and a half! I was so excited I almost ran over the mailbox with my car prior to doing a happy dance (and scaring the dog) all around the house.

Tonight I am getting the final documents notarized. As soon as we get our copies of the home study, we will be sending all our documents to get state certified and then authenticated by the Guatemalan Consulate in New York City. (Someone we met at the parenting seminar pointed us to two courier services to take care of this for us which should really expedite the process.) All the certification/authentification can be taking place while we wait ever so patiently (that was sarcasm in case you missed it) for the USCIS to approve us for international adoption.

Over the weekend Greg and I were in Toys R Us picking out a birthday present for our niece. I forced him into the infant section. We were both a little scared at first looking at the bizarre devices that claimed they are "must haves". Then we started getting excited. I cant speak for Greg, but I cant wait to start shopping! I convinced Greg to stop at a high-end baby store on the way home to laugh at all the outrageous prices. Greg and I agreed that our son can spit up and poo all over bedding and clothes from Target just as easily. We'll let the grandparents spoil him with the expensive stuff :)



Friday, April 07, 2006

Thank you!

I know awhile ago I did a little thank you to a few people, but I wanted to send out an even bigger thank you. Although I have never done it before, I imagine that raising a child takes effort from not only the parents, but from other family members, schools, friends... just about everyone. Adopting a child is no different. We need everyone's help and we are just overwhelmed with the outpouring of generosity.

We are still in the paperchase and we couldn't do it without you. I want to thank Abbie, Amanda and Kevin, Amy, Cara and Chris, Jody and Geoff, and Valerie with all their help getting out paperwork together. We also got some help from our doctor and the HR departments where we work. Thanks!

DeNese is our home study social worker and she has been great. She has answered my millions of questions quickly and thoroughly. She also has set up some great training and parenting opportunities that Greg and I are taking advantage of.

A big thank you to Heidi who is our case manager. She too has been quick and thorough to answer my millions of questions, no matter how stupid they seem to me! Good luck on your own pending adoption.

Thank you to all our friends and family who have donated to help cover the financial costs of bringing our child home. (If you want to donate, you can do so on by clicking the link the top left corner of this page.) We are planning a fundraising garage sale this summer that will also help us out. If anyone has any other ideas, let us know!

I want to thank everyone who has given us love, support and prayers, particularly my mom Jean, and Greg's mom Marge. You guys are just the sweetest and your kind words have really helped through all the frustration.

Mostly I want to thank Greg. I tell him everyday how much I love him but words can't ever express just how wonderful I think he is and how much he means to me. Based on how well he handles my whining and crying fits, I just know he is going to be a wonderful dad to our whining and crying child. I am sure I will be asking him for advice since he has spent more time reading about adoption and parenting issues than I have. I love you!



Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Expedite the Operation

There has been this rumor over our heads and I keep hearing it more and more. I dont totally understand it and I'm not sure that understanding it completely really matters. All that I know is that we must act swiftly and efficiently. I want nothing more than to have my son here with me as soon as possible, and this is just one more reason to make that happen.

We got our first official notice about the Hague Convention situation from our agency last night. In a nutshell, because Guatemala is a part of the Hague Convention but not does not adhere to it fully, the adoption program through Guatemala may be shut down. The date that the US is going to act on this keeps floating around, but it will likely take place in 2007, yet there is still a possibility that it could be put off until 2008. Our agency urged us to get all our paperwork submitted ASAP to help prevent getting caught up in this situation and have our adoption process stop just short of official.

Greg and I talked a little bit about how we can get this to move along any quicker. At this point all we are waiting for is our FBI Clearances to be returned and our Home Study to be finished. The Home Study should be done in less than two weeks but I dont know how long to expect the FBI Clearances to be finished. I am kicking myself for not getting that taken care of first thing. I am doing my best to focus on what we need to do instead of paying attention to the possible consequences of things not running smoothly. If anyone is interested in sending us some good vibes and prayers for getting our FBI Clearances and Home Study done in record time, we would much appreciate it.

I had another dream about our son last night. I have been smiling all day thinking about the image I had of that little angel smiling at me, arms reaching out for a hug.