Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pay it forward

I just wanted to share with you all a fun start to my day. Something you do not see very often is the act of kindness and pure customer service. In my line of work customer service is number 1 and we focus entirely on it. I'm sure we have all heard of "pay it forward" and it would be great if the world actually did that. Well today I had a great, but simple, experience at Starbucks. Now keep in mind this Starbucks will be closing at the end of the year, and I think it made my experience even better. So here it goes.... I pull up to the drive through to order my usual Venti soy latte. For some reason I just knew today would be great. The nice young man asked every so politely "How can I help you", as normal I ordered my venti soy latte and some organic milk. However, I realized that it's approaching fall and every fall, for a limited time, they offer the pumpkin spice. I just love the pumpkin spice shot in my latte so I asked "hey by chance is the pumpkin spice flavor back?" He replied with " no, not yet" So I just said "ok, thanks" and pulled through. When I pulled up to the window to pay and to grab my delicious morning boost 3 men were standing there with big smiles on their young faces. One of them grabbed my money and another one handed me my beverage. I grab the drink and he said "here try it and tell me what you think". To myself I thought.. "hmm, I've had this drink a million times, but I guess this is a new thing.. try before you drive." I took that first sip and much to my surprise--PUMPKIN SPICE. I tasted the delicious flavor that only comes once a year and thanked the boys with a big smile. I can tell I made their day as well as they did mine. I drove off with a big smile and a delicious drink thinking to myself-- THIS WILL BE A GREAT DAY. THANK YOU GOD. The point of the story is, a simple gesture or smile can make any one's day. I hope this story made your day and remember to pay it forward. And if everyone can do me one favor... HAVE A GREAT DAY. All my love- Tricia

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I-600 Submitted

We just received an e-mail from Michelle that the Holt Vietnam office has submitted our I-600 to the USCIS in Vietnam today! So this means that the child documents from the Binh Duong province showed up either today or yesterday. We were waiting on these to join our I-600 application which was submitted to Holt in June.
So in the coming days we should have confirmation via e-mail from the CIS that they are in receipt of our I-600 and begin to process it with can take up to 60 business days. This process is separate from the other approvals that we are waiting on (Sophie's Dossier approval by the Department of Justice, and People's Committee approval). We must have those PLUS I-600 approval before we can travel. So things are looking good and still on track, in our estimates for a mid to late November trip to Vietnam!

Family, Fun & Food

This past weekend we celebrated my Grandmother's 90th birthday. Affectionately called Mimi, she claims 7 grandchildren (all are girls but me, so she calls me the crowned Prince), and 8 great-grandchildren. Family from New Jersey, Illinois, Colorado and South Carolina joined to mark the ocassion. Of course, we had Sophie in every shot we could! My cousin Shaw did a slide show on her laptop of photos since Mimi was born (and some before) thanks to the great geneology research by my Mom! Tons of great photos, showing her past 90 years and all of her family and friends. A special moment near the end was a picture of Sophie! Tricia and I both started to cry. We wish Sophie could be at the party, but she will be home in time to celebrate Christmas with us and Mimi! Below are a couple of photos from the weekend. We all had a great time and it was fun to have everyone in town for the fun!

Mimi's Clan at the party

A rare family photo of my Mom and Pop with my sisters, neices and nephews..And Sophie! Everyone lives so far apart!

On the adoption front, we are hoping to have an update by the end of the week as to our I-600 submission. As soon as we do we will post! As the 9/1 deadline looms ever so close, our prayers are with those families still waiting on a referral. Please know that we think about you all!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One Year Ago

Well, one year ago today we submitted the application to Holt. It was our third attempt to adopt but with Holt everything just felt right. And we were right.
We have had our our ups and downs, total meltdowns and days like 6/13/08 when we were matched with our little girl. All the paperwork, late nights early mornings, hundreds upon hundreds of miles driven to and from places. Wow, it has been a long year. But looking back the amount of information and knowledge we have gained is so immense. People ask why it takes so long. Honestly it is hard to really make them understand, but really we are lucky. VERY LUCKY. In December last year, when we were place on the waiting list to be matched with a child, we were told to expect 12-18 months for the period. It was just over six due to the news process regarding our dossier and hustling to get things done.
We have seen just over 11,000 different visitors since we started the site. People from all over the world. It is really fun to see! Thanks to everyone for staying tuned. The best parts are still to come. We dread though that time is coming to a standstill once again for us. We are finding it more difficult to stay busy as we wait for these next approvals. Our other Holt PAPs that are waiting like us know how it feels. We are seeing new TAs (travel approvals) which is great and we hope to see more! One day, it will be our turn. Just gotta be patient a tad bit longer, and for me..I have normally had all the patience in the world, but now it seems that is being tested. Both Tricia and I are having dreams about Sophie, normally each night. Anywho, things will get there. November will be here soon. Thanks again for joining us! Stay tuned!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Looking Forward

A very busy next few months for us as we get ready for Sophie to come home. Projects, those classic "'round-to-its" that we have wanted to do are now getting finished. We built our home 4 years ago and made the BIG mistake of doing some carpet downstairs. Not only is there carpet but it is as close to white as you can get. So, for those of you who have cats, you know they enjoy hoarking up those beauty hairballs, while you sleep and not on tile, but of course on the carpet. So we have decided to rip out the 600 Sq. Ft of carpet that is downstairs and replace it with wood. Getting Sophie's room finished is obviously important too. Weekends are becoming more and more sparse and finding that free time is almost impossible as we look at the calendar towards November.
We think that in the next week or so, we should receive our letter confirmation (via e-mail) that the USCIS in Saigon is in receipt of our I-600 paperwork and the processing wait of around 45 days begins. Since VN is 12 hours ahead of us, most PAPs say they wake up one morning and presto in their e-mail there is the notice. It is one of the things we look forward to during weekday mornings. We then have Sophie's dossier approval by the MOJ/DOJ, People's Committee Approval, and then I-600 approval.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

More presents for the princess

My cousin Nikki came to visit last night and she brought gifts! She works at The Gap (uh oh) and she has her older cousins taste (me) in clothes and shopping. And of course Grandma and Grandad had to buy more books for her. Grandma is a teacher and well we all know that teachers love books. I bet our little princess will be very smart! Thanks Grandma, Grandad and Nikki. We love you!
Sophie's Momma

St. Louis Prepares For The Princess' Arrival

Images start to appear in a St. Louis mall
(Cool edit, eh?)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Donations accepted......

Hi all! I have been doing a little reading on what we can do for the other children at the orphanage. Hank and I are to bring "gifts" for the children, directors and some officials in Vietnam which we are very honored to do. However, a lot of the other parents have collected gently used children's clothing (any age, any size) and donated them to the orphanage. Any thing that your child or children has out grown or has not used we will take it to Vietnam and give it to the orphanage. This will be on top of the "gifts" we will give to them. If you are interested please let us know. The kids will greatly appreciate it. Thank you very much.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Follow The Nagan Family In Viet Nam!

One of our fellow Holt families left for Viet Nam yesterday evening to be united with their daughter Madeleine who is in Da Nang. Follow them on their voyage HERE. It should keep everyone busy for three weeks or so! Their journey has spanned almost 2 and 1/2 years! Maria and Eric we are following!!