The approval from the National Visa Center, the application we completed for Nora's visa, and our referral acceptance from China make up what is known as "Article 5". Following? It sure is confusing and I often find myself re-referring to explanations and e-mails from our agency to refamiliarize myself with this part of the process. Our Article 5 was dropped off (by in-country staff of our agency) at the US Consulate in Guangzhou on Wednesday. The Consulate takes exactly 10 business days to process this paperwork and then issues our Article 5 to the China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) in Beijing on Wednesday, September 19th. This then begins the official wait for our Travel Approval (TA) from the CCCWA. I love it!!! The travel approval is essentially our invitation to come get Nora. Travel approval typically happens 2-4 weeks after Article 5 is issued and then travel typically happens 2-4 weeks after that. Still with me? It's complex!
So, as you can imagine I have counted, recounted and fully scrutinized the calendar. We know we will travel in God's timing ... but still I analyze the calendar and the timelines of others who have recently gotten their travel approvals. In doing so, looks like we could be in China in late October / early November. Seriously.
As we wait, Jason and I have been spending a lot of time doing more research on many topics ~ more research on life in the orphanages in China, more research on caring for a "creatively lipped" baby, more research on attachment and bonding, etc. We have been uncovering a lot of information, some is painful and hard to digest, some is real-life stories filled with hope. Incredible.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I'm going to post links to some of the blogs and resources we have found to be helpful and encouraging. Some of you may not be interested in these, but some of you may. Plus this is a good place for me to link them so that I can easily refer back as well.
A caution, some of the links that I will post will share the hard stuff. Adoption is hard. Raising children is hard. Likewise, some of the links I will post will share the head over heels joy and will clearly tell the story of God's design in adoption. There are stories upon stories that clearly portray the joy of adoption and God's faithfulness and grace in adoption. I pray that as our journey continues that it is evident that this is His story and that we will be honest with the hard things and that we will clearly give Him the glory in the good things.
So, to start, just two links (warning, while it's just two links, these beautiful women and their families will draw you in so you might as well cozy up to your screen with perhaps a coffee or tea and enjoy):
Angie Weldon, mom of sweet Emery, a creatively lipped little one from China, shares her heart on her blog. In this post HERE, she beautifully articulates Emery's non-verbal world. I encourage you to explore Angie's blog further. Angie writes beautifully, and she is quite witty.
And, HERE you will find a Q&A on cleft lip and palate on Ashley's blog. Again, take a minute (or likely longer) and explore Ashley's blog. Amazing! And, Ashley and her family just returned from China with their little one. Precious!
And, because no blog post is complete without a photo. Check this out, the only piece of clothing we have purchased for our Nora ... Love. It. Won't she be sweet wearing this on the day of our US Consulate appointment in China? The day she officially becomes a US citizen. And, don't fret, just because we've only bought this one piece of clothing for little miss, she will be well dressed and accessorized after raiding Lydia's too small bins. Nope, no worries folks!
"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19