It would be triple happiness if "the powers that be" called to let us know that because we are seasoned in this process now that they are excusing us from the rest of the wait and invited us to go ahead and come now for Natalie.
...Of course that could only happen in my dreams. Which I should add it does from time to time and the family and I scramble to grab clean underwear and toothbrushes and run to the car to get to the airport STAT. And then I wake up from my frantic yet exciting dream and realize that we still have several months at least to go in this wait to hold her in our arms...
But we have had DOUBLE happiness in the past week concerning our newest addition. We received news late Wednesday night that we have completed one more stage of the wait. Our official acceptance from the authorities that oversee adoption in China (our LOA) arrived at our adoption agency on the 29th. Waiting for LOA can stretch out for months and we are rejoicing that we only hit the 34 day mark from the time our dossier was entered into the system overseas. It also took the biggest guessing game out of our timeline as the LOA wait can last anywhere from 30ish days (somewhat rare) all the way to 100+ days.
At this point we are back in the hands of our own government as we wait for them to grant provisional approval for us to bring Natalie into the country to become a US citizen. At the earliest we will be traveling in mid-August, but at least now we have a pretty good estimate of the time as the visa approval process takes about 6 to 8 weeks. From there we wait a few days for our travel authorization (TA) and then book a consulate appointment (CA). Once the CA has been set, we are free to fly out as soon as we can secure airfare. Our AMAZING case worker at Lifeline expects us to be on the ground in China in 2 1/2 to 3 months which may just give us time to sneak back into the country right before our three big kids begin their first and second grade school years.
We've been doing the happy dance since Wednesday night! We are elated!
The LOA in and of itself is blog worthy, but I did mention DOUBLE happiness, right?
Well, on Wednesday night before I could go to bed, I finally requested an update on our sweet girl from Ladybugs 'N Love (we've used them for Caleb, Darcy and Daniel's updates and have been so pleased with their service...even got to meet Angela while we were in China once and she knew Darcy's Chinese name before I told her, she really knows and cares about her customers!) Well, one week following LOA, we got our update. Our ten questions were answered, we now know how tall she is, how much she weighs, and that all of her baby teeth are in. But most importantly, we know that she feels pretty...
Can I just tell you the happy tears that spilled when I saw that smile? It did somewhat take my breath away to see how much she's grown since that first baby picture I fell in love with...
...but there is some serious personality going on in that smile and I sure can't wait to get to know her!
Of course, as much as I am joyful that we are nearing the end of this wait to bring her home, I know what is coming for her. By the time we get to her she will be nearly four years old and all she has ever known is going to change drastically. Would you join me in praying for her heart to be prepared to leave her world to come to ours and become part of our family?