Well, it has been almost three months since our last update on Gabriel LinQi. We are able to request new updates when major paperwork milestones are reached in the process. Our major milestone this time that allowed us to ask five new questions and get some new videos – YES! VIDEOS!! – was that we received our LOA or Letter of Approval from the Chinese government. This is the final piece of paperwork that officially approves us to be a family! We received this document in mid- January. We now are awaiting a second approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS – we live in a world of abbreviations now!) which is the “Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative”. Once we receive this there is some more paperwork to do – I know, shocking! We are about to apply for our Visas as well. If all goes off without any snags we hope to meet Gabriel and have him in our arms in April! It may still be May but we are really hoping and praying for April because, well, the sooner the better! Additionally, it is a good bit less expensive to travel in April so that would help a lot, too. Apparently once this USCIS approval comes, everything happens really quickly. So we are getting ready to hold on tight and just enjoy the ride!
We are super busy preparing for our little man. We are still learning and reading and watching some wonderfully helpful videos that our agency sent us regarding attachment, trust based parenting, and many other great topics. We are getting his room ready – we got bunk beds for him. I think Dave is more excited about this than Gabriel may be! We found a rug when we first decided we were going to adopt from China. It is a cute little rug with foxes and birds on it. But it also has pandas on it. And it helps toddlers learn about counting, too. That was the first thing we bought for our future child. So we are decorating his room around this rug and the colors in it. Oddly enough, these are also the same colors as we had in our wedding – turquoise and red! We are also adding in some yellow/gold in Gabriel’s room. We’ll post pictures of his room once we are finished. There is still so much to do to get ready. But we are just doing our best to take it day by day and we know that all will work out fine.
Some of you may recall that we sent Gabriel a photo album with pictures of us, our home, the dogs and cat, and even one of downtown Nashville in it back when we sent our dossier to China. In one of the videos we received in an update not long after that, we saw the little stuffed dog we had sent him in the background and were thrilled to know he had received it. We recently sent him a book called “I Love You Head to Toe” that featured a Mommy and Daddy panda and baby panda. It was a recordable book so we read it to him in our voices so he can get used to hearing us. In the video updates we just received, he is looking at his book we sent and our photo book is right beside it! I thought our hearts might burst seeing this! Then at the end of that video he says “Baba” (which means Daddy or Father) and points toward the photo book which is open to a picture of just me and Dave. Then he excitedly says “Baba bao!” which we were able to loosely translate to “Dad Package”. Which makes sense as he is looking at a package sent by Mommy and Daddy!
Here are a few screenshots below from the videos:
Can you handle the cuteness? We certainly can’t!! But then…we are biased. Completely and unabashedly so! He is moving really well in one video where he is walking so that is fantastic! And he seems to have loads of personality and hams it up for the camera in another of the videos. Which is a good thing since he is joining a family of hams! At present, he is just under 3 feet tall and almost 30 pounds. Dave and I are going to start practicing carrying around a 25 pound bag of rice so we can be ready in April!
For those of you in Nashville, our dear friend, Mike Grimes, has offered to let us have a fundraiser at his club, The Basement on Friday, March 13th. We are ridiculously grateful to everyone that is giving of their time and energy to help make this event a success! So far we have The Coal Men, Brian Ritchey, the mary nails, Hip Jelly, and Guilty Pleasures on board to do sets! We will also be having a silent auction to raise additional funds. We will post a new blog with more details as we get a little closer to the event.
In the meantime, we will be over here watching our new videos on repeat and memorizing every moment of them so we can tide ourselves over until we have that sweet child in our arms – and lives – forever. It won’t be long now, little man, and we will be a family! Just hold on a little while longer!