Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wrapping up 2007

What a fun year it has been. We just returned home from our Christmas travels. Friends and Tricia's brother are joining us in St. Louis to close out the year. For Christmas gifts this year we thought we would give all our family and close friends something related to the adoption. So after I created the BabyBelz logo, I had the idea to put it on shirts for everyone. A company called Custom Ink ( did a wonderful, high-quality job plus they have tons of other items! The prices were great too. Here are the model shots:

Tricia, Kayla, and Ann

Walker, Mike, Hank and Scott
(Toasting to BabyBelz)
While our adoption journey is still young we thought it would be a fun way to celebrate all of the small steps towards the day we hold our child. Our family and friends are really excited and that means the world to us. From the Belz Family, we wish you a happy and healthy 2008. And for those families waiting on final travel, we wish speedy I-600 approval and God's speed!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We hope you and your families have a Merry Christmas! While waiting for that plump jolly old elf to visit your house, see were Santa is right now. His position is update every 5 minutes... Click this link HERE Looks like he made a stop in VN too :-). Enjoy this special day, and everyone travel safe! Our Christmas card this year.
Christmas 1974. I am on the left. Sisters Diehnee (middle)
and Libby (right).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Well not for the military, but we received our I-797C (ASC Appointment Notice) letters in the mail today! We are scheduled to do our biometrics on 01/03/08 at 12:00pm at the Federal building. Not used to being fingerprinted so many times!
Having all of these official docs will come handy when we put all of this into a book for our child to look over later in life and see exactly what we have done in regards to completing their adoption. I guess it is sort of a baby book, but with more legal documents. All of these entries would be great to include too.
The NOT so exciting part of this appointment is the the major interstate that goes through St. Louis is being closed on Jan 2 and will not re-open for 2 years, so the 30 min drive to downtown will take about 1 hour.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Jingle Belz

Puck being NOT so happy
The fourth annual Jingle Belz Christmas party was on Saturday evening. Despite the snow storm we had a great group of family and friends join us for food, fun and of course Santa Claus who made his debut at the Belz house for this party. We decided to migrate from 50-60 friends to a close group of friends, family and the children. It really was better this way. Not only was there Christmas cheer, and the weather to go along with it, gifts were shared, great stories told and looking forward to Jingle Belz 2008 we will add baby "Judy" Walker to the event. Our friends Mike and Ann Walker are expecting their first child in February. They are keeping the name confidential until she is born, so Tricia has affectionately named her "Judy" which Ann hates!

The "big man" shows up! Sorry for the darkness...

Trish and Mr. Santa Claus

Scott and HB IV

Friday, December 14, 2007

I-600A Filed!

Well we filed the form today along with the docs we needed, paid our $830 and left! We thought we would be able to do the fingerprints too, but the sea hag that was working behind the 12" thick glass window told us nope! They will call us and schedule an appointment in 2-3 weeks. So again we wait :-). Kinda gets old having to wait on others to move at the "government" pace so that we can me parents. Oh well. Not much we can do. Have a great weekend. We get snow tonight!! WOOHOO!!!
Tricia with the "Folder"outside the Federal building downtown.
Immigration ones are color coded yellow.. call me crazy....

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Immigration Office Visit Time

Now that we are officially waiting, we will make our appointment with the USCIS to file our I-600A, and hopefully that same day, be able to complete the fingerprinting for the FBI background check things. Judy sent us our three copies of the certified home study, and Michelle from Holt Eugene sent our official letter of waiting and invoice for the dossier fees. Lord, after this is all said and done with we won't be able to sneeze without the government knowing where we are :-). Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

UPDATE: Our appointment is Friday 12/14 at 11am. We go downtown to the federal building just by Busch. The folder with all the required docs and checks is ready to go!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I guess Judy sent it overnight! Michelle called Tricia today and our home study has been approved! We are number 49 on the waiting list for a referral. While we were hoping between 9-12 months before we find our who our baby is, Michelle said more like 18...UGH! So while we celebrate, we also have a long wait ahead of us. Guess we had better find so more hobbies :-)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Passing Another Mile Marker on The Long Road to Baby Belz

Judy called today. Our home study has been written and she is sending it to the Vietnam Program Director for Holt in Eugene, OR. WOOHOOO! Hope to hear back regarding approval sometime mid to late next week! Once that is complete we will be on the OFFICIAL WAITING LIST !!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Writing Of The Home Study

Got word from Judy that she is writing our home study and hopefully she will get that finished today. As soon as that happens she will send it to the Holt HQ in Eugene, OR for preliminary approval. At this point we are getting some vital records together like certified birth certificates and marriage license which will be submitted to the USCIS (formerly the INS) for immigration. To obtain our child's visa there is a three step process.

Step 1) Filing the I-600A which is the application for advanced processing of orphan petition along with supporting docs like the birth and marriage papers and home study. After we submit this we complete the FBI fingerprinting process for Tricia and myself. Jonathan does not have to do this since he is only 17. The USCIS then sends us the I-171H which is the Notice of Favorable Determination which is the long name for "Yup your I-600A is good to go". Totally waiting time is around 60-90 days to get the I-171H .

Step 2) Filing the I-600 which is the petition to classify an orphan as an immediate relative. We complete this once we get TA (Travel Approval) and the actual form is filed in Hanoi with our baby's legal docs.

Step 3) The visa petition interview at the US Embassy in Hanoi. These documents for the interview are our home study, birth certificates, marriage certificate, I-600A & 600, employment letters, copies of our W-2, and tax returns, and vaccination waivers.

Whew... sound like alot? Well I guess so but really it is submitting the same documents over and over and over again! So we just go with the flow and take baby steps closer! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just a Friendly Nudge

Judy from Holt is waiting on two families to complete their reference paperwork. PLEASE, PLEASE send this in! It is the only thing that is holding up her writing our home study. We thank those, Greens, DeLeones and Walkers for being prompt !

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. We had a nice time. Tricia's Mom, Dad and Brother were in town, as were my Pop and Stepmother. We had a nice crowd at the house with great food compliments of my awesome wife :-) .
Well I thought it might be fun to add a forum to the site. It is still work in progress, but feel free to sign up and we all can chat! Just click HERE

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hang Those Stockings By The Chimney With Care.....Hoping That Baby Belz Will Soon Be HERE!

Mom likes to needlepoint and has made tons of cool belts for me (hey Mom...time for another please after this...I am getting too fat for the others), pillow for T and various other things. For all of her grandchildren she does HUGE Christmas stockings. The picture does not do the size justice, but once we find out if we have a son or a daughter, his/her name will go up top. This is stocking number 7 and if God's plan works, we shall have it hanging with ours for Christmas 2009!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Day After.....

We had our first home study last night with Judy. It was actually really fun. We already knew her from originally finding our about Holt 3 yrs ago and a few months ago at an informational session. We had great talks about being parents and just about how we were raised by our parents, plus general things about our marriage and some chats about T's cancer battle which as you all know has made us so very strong! Jonathan was also interviewed for about minutes since he is living with us.
The plan is to have Judy swing by on 11/23 which would complete the visits. She then writes the home study report. It is then sent to Holt HQ in Eugene or approval and translation into Vietnamese. Then, off to Vietnam for approval. Hopefully we can have all this completed by the end of the year. THEN the long wait of 6-12 months for the referral of our son or daughter.
We kind of sit and wonder if our child is already born? Yes? No? Wondering so many things. I have been reading Tricia's book Finding Katherine. Truly a wonderful read. We are studying so much about the country and the rich history there. So many of us only see Vietnam and the people through movies and photos centered around the war. Given all of that, it is interesting to find out that the citizens of Vietnam LOVE Americans and treat those in country like celebrities. "The Tall Americans", is how they refer to us. Vietnam is a beautiful country with a huge tourist industry. Sporting some of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world, Vietnam is for sure a hidden gem of Southeast Asia. Looking forward to the experience of being there! Have a great weekend all! We are off to stalk the pesky whitetail. Tricia too. Just for kicks and giggles, here is a pic of T from last year's deer season!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Home Study Begins Today

For some odd reason I was awake, bright-eyed and bushy tailed at 3:07 A.M. Not sure if it was excitement or nerves, maybe a little of both, but honestly we are not nervous, except I think we told Jonathan about 186 times since Monday to have his room 100% spotless. Most of you know he doesn't have anything better to do with his "spare time" until next Friday :-)
Judy will be here at 4:00 P.M. I am sure it will be a LONG day waiting for the clock to move.

Also looks like we reach 1,500 unique visitors to the site too!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mommy 2 be thoughts!

Hello all! Finally the soon to be Mommy has time to post something! While we were on vacation I had plenty of time to read and catch up on my thoughts. I read the book "Finding Katherine" by: Dr. Ellen Fitzenrider. I found myself caught up in each page as Dr. Fitzenrider shared her journey of adoption. She did not leave out anything. I could actually see myself in Vietnam experiencing the culture of this beautiful country. I find myself wanting to know more about the country - I craved the knowledge these books have to offer. I never wanted to learn so much about anything in my life. Dr. Firzenrider fills in all the lines with beautiful colors of adopting through Vietnam. I am more anxious now than I have ever been. I can not wait until Hank and I get to experience this. This vacation was exactly what I needed. I was able to regain focus on what is important in life. I am more focused on my job and why I get up each morning- it's to prepare for our child. I work and strive so I can take care of my family. Every decision I make seems to involve our child. Today we are one more day closer to Vietnam and our baby. Our home study has been set up for next Thursday! Things, for the first time ever, are falling into place. coincidence? I think not! Until next time--Chúa troi Ban phúc Tình yêu, MommaB

Monday, November 5, 2007

Back To Reality

Well we are back home :-(. Despite Tropical Storm Noel which provided some high winds and very sporadic monsoon downpours on Sunday and Monday, we had another great time at the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus. Photos will be uploaded soon. But here are a few to tide everyone over.
And.....on the adoption front, we received our invoice for the home study while we were playing in the sun! Time to start writing the big $ checks now! Judy will be our social worker. She is also the Branch Director for the Kansas/Missouri Offices.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Vacation Time

A little R&R for the Belz! We are off to the Dominican Republic! Until we return, you all take care!

GO BLUES!....Scott, Mike, and Walker Bring Home Some Winners!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Home Study Pre-Work Away!

Only took about 1 1/2 months to get the stuff together but I sent it yesterday to Judy FedEx overnight. Longest part was the personal information packets which were 16 pages of questions that each of us had to complete. Lucky for us we did not have to answer the questions about already having children. That saved 8 or 9 questions! The packets serve as a "get to know us" for the person that will be coming to do our home study. When we start the home study, we will also have to attend a series of classes called Parents in Progress, which will educate Trish and I on being adoptive parents. Next step is to have Holt verify the docs and then bill us for our home study. Judy said that she has hired another social worker so I think that we will see him/her. In the meantime, we can continue to read through the guidebook which is jam-packed with tons of information. I love reading the travel section, not just because I am an airplane freak, but from what we have read, it is good to plan ahead, because once we DO get travel approval -later on down the road- we have to give Holt our hotel info ASAP. Just think of all the frequent flyer miles we will rack up!

ALSO! For those of you who are our references, please be on the lookout for something from Holt International, for your completion. Again We thank you VERY much!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I sit back and ponder......SO many moms and dads take for granted being biological parents. It just seems "natural" to them and never run into issues with having children etc. Get pregnant have showers, showers and more showers, birth, homecoming without even thinking. Not to say that all do, but many really do not realize how very lucky they are. Many nights Tricia and I talked about why us? All the unfairness, seeing our friends being pregnant having multiple children (we love them all by the way!!!). It just was so much to handle while we searched for a solution to navigate around the "cancer" roadblock that so many countries and a few agencies (THANK GOD FOR HOLT INTL) throw up when adoptive parents want to JUST BE PARENTS! We should we be looked as different? It seemed at times that we would never find an agency or a country. Many countries treat cancer like the plague! "Oh no...we won't even look at you" or "10 years post" ...please! Well I look at Tricia and see what she has gone through. Hospital pictures during surgery, our 1 year anniversary ..... survivors walks with the Wellness Community,how hard she works to one day as Mimi says "Run that place" and just everyday since January 2003. It really all starts to make sense now. All the heartbreaks are coming full circle for us now. We are asked so many times "How come you don't adopt domestically?" Well God had a plan for Tricia and I. Obviously we have no control over WHEN we would be parents or WHERE, but He knew. Our chance to change the life of a child in another part of the world. 20,000 miles away. Someone who would more than likely sit in foster care or another facility for the remainder of their youth. Well that is reason enough for us. Go to the Holt forums look at the pictures of the children that are in state care, that right there is enough. I wish we could adopt them all. Just being parents.......something that no mom or dad should take for granted...EVER...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wishing Everything Moves This Fast!

We received our State fingerprint files back. NO CRIMINAL RECORDS :-) These are just one of many docs that will be included into our dossier after home study.
While we wait, we love to read the stories of the other Holt Vietnam families that are in country and further in the process than we are Really it kind of gives us some perspective on what to expect. Have a great weekend. Finally starting to feel like fall here!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Status Quo

Happy Friday. I wanted you all to check out the blog that this family has going. They are in Vietnam now getting sarah. She was from Dong Nai near Ho Chi Minh City. They are now in Hanoi doing her processing. Read through their story and follow too. It is updated daily with new pictures etc.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


We are waiting for Holt to send our guidebook to us. It is really the manual on "how to adopt from Vietnam" step by step. So until then we have completed all of the finger prints and blood tests and everything is a snail's pace, but it is moving!

UPDATE: Guidebook arrived today through FedEx, so we have our "textbook" !!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

To The Doc!

We both went to the doctor today for our physical exams! FUN!! We have to run back in the morning for a TB test and a lab for some blood work tests. We have to wait for those results, which they said take about two weeks to get back. Then next week to be fingerprinted for the criminal background checks. We continue to fill out the 16 page info profile and other docs. That's about all for now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Not much of an update, but we go to our first Holt "information" class tonight. We will find out more about what to expect with the process. Step by step and day by day we get close to Sophie Lee or Forrest Henry "Hank" Belz. I can actually say I feel totally different inside. I know that soon, I will be a Mommy and a dream of mine will come true. Every night I have trouble going to sleep because I think of what our child and what he/she will look like. I pray that our baby will be protected and well taken care of until he/she's in our arms. I have had a few dreams these past few days about a baby and I often wonder what these dreams mean? I just can't belive this is finally happening. Will update more on thoughts and progess... MOM!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Right now, we are working on our home study paperwork. Just the typical items for adoption, like background checks, employment verification, finger printing (for immigration down the road) and other things. LOTS of paperwork :-( which will lead to the physical home study.

We actually are getting a taste of parenthood right now. We have Jonathan, who is 17 living with us until June. He is the son of Nancy who lived across the street until moving to California in May. He wanted to finish his senior year in St. he is staying with us. Hope to share more GOOD news with everyone in the coming weeks, but until then it will be kinda quiet.
Thanks to everyone for the kind words and comments! We appreciate them more than you know!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Baby Belz

Very excited! We have been waiting for a long time for this. Please pray for us and feel free to post whatever. Thank you- momma belz

Away We Go!

Morning! Well here we go with the adoption. Holt International finally accepted our application!

The question is what country would accept us since Tricia has had cancer? Well the Philippines wanted 10 years post and Korea 5 years. She will be 4 in March 2007, so Vietnam it is! We are very excited to be parents! Now comes the long process of paperwork, home study, more paperwork, approvals, completing a dossier, waiting for approval, FINALLY getting a referral, waiting some more and then the day we get to travel to Vietnam! We hope you will stick around and follow our journey!