Sunday, June 29, 2008

Shopping & Such

We went and picked up a few items for Miss Sophie yesterday. We are able to send small packages with a few flat items with the weekly FedEx that Holt sends to Vietnam. Our little girl truly lives up to that! She is now 17 months old and is wearing 9 month old clothes so we bought some that would fit her now and a few that she can grow into. We also picked up a digital voice recorder so that we can read books and then send the recorder over so that she can hear our voices. Other PAPs have done similar things too.
Next week we will begin getting her room ready. We went and picked out paints which are pink air and heath green. We will have a white chair rail seperating the two with the pink on top.
Looking forward to the day when it is all ready to
go for her. I know that Trish is having fun with it.
She has been looking forward to decorating her
room for the longest time. She said she never thought she would do pink and green but that is what it has turned into!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Now On To Immigration Paperwork

The onslaught of killing trees continues here at the Belz household! We received direction yesterday to begin our I-600 paperwork which is the tail end of Sophie's immigration I-600A paperwork that we started in mid-December of last year.
This basically contains similar but not all docs that went into the dossier, but includes the physical USCIS application for immigration, another immigration form and our I-600A approval notice. If I were a copy machine, I would really hate us right about now. We will send this package to Holt tomorrow and this process will run concurrently with our dossier with the Vietnamese Government. Our dossier is still with the Ministry of Justice in Viet Nam for approval. Once that is received it will head to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the province where Sophie is. Once the DOJ receives Sophie's required child documents, our I-600 docs will join hers and then head to the Embassy in Hanoi. The approval of the I-600 after the MOJ and DOJ approvals is estimated at 60 days. We have one final step in Viet Nam, which is the visa petition interview with the Embassy in Hanoi.
So with everything, we are told the we should expect to travel in early December. That would have us home by Christmas, which would be the most unreal gift we could ever receive.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

The "P" Word

Yep "P" for more paperwork that has been finished and on it's way to Holt in Oregon. Monday we sent off the transmittal document via fax and the Special Power of Attorney left on Tuesday! (story on this part in a bit) . Today we sent off the new docs from the child acceptance pack that came last night at 6:00pm. Last part ships in the morning before I head to Boston to watch the Cardinals clobber the Red Sox this weekend (WOOHOO!). Honestly, there is more paperwork than anything I have ever seen! I have special color coded folder system in my office at home, with everything nice and neat, so that I don't get that one document lost or in the wrong place. It panics me to think about loosing something that could delay Sophie coming home by one day.
So, more about the special POA story. Tricia and I go to our bank on Monday night to have the POA notarized. It also has to be State Certified, so I drive it downtown Tuesday morning and get there at 8:45am. One of the ladies remembers me from the dossier fiasco CLICK HERE. She told me it would not take long and it didn't! Four minutes maybe......TO REJECT THE DOCUMENT...The signature of the notary (same guy who did the dossier mess up) on the POA did not match the signature on file with the State of Missouri. So, at this point I am first off angry as all get out at the notary and about to break down in tears because I am thinking that I will have to all the way back home, print out a new POA, have Trish sign it that night and redo the notary at another place and return downtown the next day. Well I told the girls at the office if there was a way around it and they made some phone calls and there was a special form that I had to fill out and attach to the notarized document before they would State certify it. Crisis averted!
Well I had to go back to the bank and give this notary guy a piece of my mind. He had already delayed our daughter coming home by 3 days with the dossier mess up and almost caused us one more. So I calmly explained his error, reminded him of the previous errors with his lack of notary skills and then pulled out Sophie's picture and told him to look at her. This is our daughter who you have delayed in coming home to be with her forever family. Well, I think that really hit home with him as I was again nearly in tears.
Later I called the St. Louis Director over the branches for US Bank and told her what happened and just asked that she make sure he gets help on notarizing docs so as to not have this happen to other people. Anywho, that is the news. Sorry for the long rant session!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Now the Details!

Now that we have the wonderful news, here are some of the details around Sophie. She was born on January 15, 2007 at in South Viet Nam just north of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Her latest report from May 6, 2008 states she is now with a foster family. She eats very well consuming 3 bowls of rice soup and 3 bottles per day. She sleeps soundly at night (YEAH!!!) and takes two hour afternoon naps in a hammock! WE HAVE A SLEEPER!!!
She is able to pull herself into a standing position and walks while holding furniture. She is very curious to things that surround her. She tries to touch things and will cry if not allowed to do so. She likes crawling better than walking. Sophie loves to be held and has normal wariness to strangers but does not cry when contacting them. She smiles and laughs when playing with her foster brothers. We are very glad to see that she is doing well. As of May 6th she weighs 17.62 pounds and is 27.17 inches tall.
Today we are taking our Special Power of Attorney form to the Secretary of States office in downtown St. Louis to have this paper State Certified. We then overnight this, and two copies to Holt in Eugene. The will then send it to the consulate in San Francisco and then off Holt Viet Nam for translation. It will then join our dossier at the Ministry of Justice in Hanoi were we hope approval time will be around 30 days. After that we file her I-600 immigration paperwork, wait for approval on that, then MOJ and DOJ approval for Sophie's dossier. Then travel time soon after that. We are estimating to travel in mid to late December. That would be awesome as it would have our angel home by her second birthday!
Here are all of the pics that were included with her portfolio.

04/20/07- 3 months

07/23/07-6 months

10/23/07-9 months

01/22/08-1 year

Undated but between Feb & Apr 08

Undated but between Feb & Apr 08

Undated but between Feb & Apr 08

05/06/08-16 months


Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm sad today

Today I wake up as I do every morning wondering if today will be the day. I wake up every morning at 2:15 a.m, 3:33 a.m (make a wish) and lay there for another 30 mins. wondering what will happen today. I know I'll spend an hour and a half getting ready for work, and thoughts will flow through my head. Thoughts about will today be the day, will I have a good day and what can I do to make it the best day. I get into my car drive to work and most days I'm happy to be alive and blessed to have a great job and I know that I will not think about this turmoil if I just keep busy. However, today is a different day. My heart hurts, a hurt like I have never felt before. I feel the pain in my throat. Most days I just go through the motions, day after day after day. On my way home every single night I am very angry and I don't understand WHY NO ONE CALLED TODAY! WHY WHY WHY? What have I done? Why have we been dealt card after card after card. Five years of marriage we have done nothing but fight through life. Why can one person have everything perfect, but others have to climb a huge mountain every single minute. It's not fair. As I try to not "lose the faith" it's very hard to keep that positive attitude. Today I am sad and for once I want the world to know that we are human and we feel pain and today I AM VERY SAD.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Clear As Mud?

Cutting through the confusion and red-tape is something that we are trying to do in order to explain to family, friends and those that are following along our process what is exactly going on. With so many variables in play, it is confusing enough for us, and we can only imagine the same holds true for everyone else. So, to help the masses better grasp at the situation, I will do my best to sum things up.

Negotiations are on-going and have been since early Fall 2007. With less than three months before the expiration of the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), it is unlikely that a newly ratified document will be in place by September 1. The hope is now, that there will be a temporary framework built around the Hague Treaty which Viet Nam has expressed willingness to incorporate and sign on to. Given the report released on April 25, 2008 by the US Embassy in Hanoi alleging cases of adoption fraud in Viet Nam (Holt is no way involved in any of these). Since that report was released talks slowed around the new MOU.

As it stands today, we need to be matched with a child prior to September 1, 2008 in order to be able to complete our adoption. Earlier, before the embassy report was released, those prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) who had their dossiers logged in or “grandfathered” with the Ministry of Justice in Hanoi (MOJ) would be allowed to complete their adoptions even if they had NOT received a referral of a child by September 1, 2008. A few weeks ago, campaigns started to urge Congress to support ethical Viet Nam adoptions by signing their letters to Condolezza Rice in support of the recommendations found in the Joint Council’s: A Child’s Right Campaign for Viet Nam. New campaigns from families in progress began yesterday with direct letters and faxes to the offices of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA) Co-Chairs: Senator Mary Landrieu; Senator Norm Coleman; Congressman James Oberstar and Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite, urging them to work with the Vietnamese Department of International Adoptions (DIA) and the US State Department to support the dossier “grandfathering” process and back A Child’s Right Campaign for Viet Nam. We pray that this will happen! 3,000 families in progress of adopting from Viet Nam are at risk, and these elected officials who work for us, the citizens of this nation, hold our future and the future of millions of Vietnamese Children in the palm of their hands.

Currently we are around number 12 “in line” to be matched with a child. Holt will touch base with us every 3 weeks with updates. The dossier, which is our 72 page formal application to the government of Viet Nam, is currently with the MOJ in Hanoi. It has been there since early April. Once we are matched with a child, the dossier will be joined with our child’s dossier and approved. It will then be submitted to the Department of Justice for authentication and approval. Once we receive MOJ approval we begin the tail end of the I-600 immigration paperwork. We filed and received approval for the advanced I-600A in January 2008. These documents are the initial step to naturalization and citizenship for BabyBelz.
I hope this has at least shed some light on what is happening and the details surrounding our adoption. Obviously, this is a test of faith for the two of us. We appreciate all of the support, thoughts and prayers of everyone.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The clock...

Time normally flies by when you are having fun. We continue to to patient through this situation awaiting SOME good news about the MOU or word from Holt about the current situation. The problem is that things just are not moving at this point. No referrals of children to families no updates from negotiations, so to say the least time is moving, but that is a scary thing for the two of us. The clock is ticking closer to the deadline in September.
Referrals normally come in batches, which there have not been any in a while. We are hoping that in the next batch our two, we will find our son or daughter. But until then we continue to wait this out trying to do things to keep us occupied.
We thank all of those people who are supporting us through contact with your state reps in hopes that we have influenced them enough to get some temp agreement in the works, something that can pave the way to a new MOU.