A bit about the Himsels

In July 2011, we were drawn to a posting by our adoption agency of a little girl that was soon to "age out" of the orphanage in China, and they were hoping to find her family before her birthday in February, when she would no longer be eligible for adoption. After reviewing the information, giving it alot of thought and prayers, we knew she was to be our daughter. So we started the paperwork chase to bring her home. But God had a bigger plan in mind for the Himsels. Along the way, we decided to pursue adopting a little boy, and that journey actually led us to two little boys, who are 18 months and 14 months old. All three children are located in the Guizhou province. We are excited to be so close to bringing home Ella (Jinglan), William, and Ethan, and we hope you follow along with our journey.

Friday, December 30, 2011

NVC Letters Arrived

Finally, we received our NVC letters (National Visa Center) letting us know that our I800 information had been forwarded on to the Consulate in China.  Another major step forward in getting our appointments secured for finalizing the adoptions.  Of course, all of the offices in China are now closed, but will open back up Tuesday, and we should hear something soon on our official travel dates.  Keep your fingers crossed that we will be traveling on January 25.  The sooner we can bring home those adorable children the better.  I can't wait to get my arms around each one of them.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Another step closer

Fedex really blew it last week.  It's never good to have to depend on a delivery around Christmas.  We had to overnight our signed LOAs and DS230s to our agency on Wednesday so they would arrive before noon on Thursday to be included in this week's courier to the Beijing office.  Well, wouldn't you know it, Fedex blew it.  They didn't get our package delivered until after 3pm that day, and we missed our opportunity to get our documents in the courier.  Not a good way to go into the Christmas weekend - very frustrating.  But we had a wonderful Christmas at the Himsels.  Decided to really decorate the tree this year and put out all of our antique Santas as I'm sure those breakables will be sitting in boxes for the next couple of years until the little guys are a bit bigger and can be trusted.  We really enjoyed spending time with family.  On Christmas eve, Mom, Lynne' and I had our traditional "Girls lunch" and Chris & Andrew had their "Boys lunch" - next year we'll have three more to include in the tradition.  We also took Andrew to see the new Muppet movie, and afterwards toured the Christmas light display here in Fort Wayne - very awesome.  Then back home to get ready for bed, and wait for the big guy.  Andrew was so excited he couldn't go to sleep until well after 11pm.  It was all worth it though.  Andrew had a wonderful Christmas, and received the best Christmas present ever from Santa (or at least that's what he declared).

After a family-filled Christmas weekend, it's back to work on the adoption.  We heard from our agency that due to Fedex's delay, they had documents from 4 different families that needed to get to Beijing.  So they sent another courier on Tuesday after Christmas and our docs are on their way to China.  Whoo Hoo - another step closer. We also decided that we needed an extra pair of hands in China.  So we invited my sister, Lynne', to come with us.  Andrew is excited that Aunt Nay will be traveling with us, and it will be such a great help to have another adult on the trip to help keep up with everyone, especially on the plane ride home.

And we were told there are two options for us for traveling, depending on when the NVC letters arrive.  We could leave January 25 (right after Chinese New Year) or February 1 (which is tight with Ella JingLan's birthday, but doable).  Yikes, that's about a month away - so much work to do around here before then.  Let's keep our fingers crossed, and say a few prayers that its January 25th - we'd like to not make it that tight with Ella JingLan's birthday right around the corner.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Yeah - we got our I800's

Last Thursday, things were getting a little stressful. Our I800s had been with USCIS for over a week and we still hadn't heard anything from our officer assigned. She had assured us that as soon as she got them she would push them along since we are so tight on time. When I checked with her, she said they hadn't been pre-processed yet and she was trying to track them down. Senator Lugar's office was also involved and our contact there was also trying to move things along. I received a call on Thursday to see if two of our kids were related. Since they are in the same orphanage, they have the same orphanage surname, and someone assumed they were siblings, which they are not.  Because of that, they hadn't processed our paperwork yet because the papers were for 3 unrelated children. Once that got cleared up, our USCIS officer said she was hopeful that she would get the documents sometime early this week and would keep us posted. Well, we got the best Christmas present today - an email with the following from our officer: "A miracle happened at USCIS today! The I-800s left TX Friday and made it to my desk this morning. With the help of several good people I was able to review and approve the I-800s just a little bit ago."  Whoo Hoo - another step closer. Now waiting on our NVC letters to arrive, but going ahead with filling out the US Visa apps for the kids. And so we had to finalize the kids names. So let me introduce you to:

Ella (Jing Lan)



Friday, December 9, 2011

What's in a name?

With our I800 forms and all of their supporting documents turned in, Chris and I needed to really settle on the kids' names.  Just like with Andrew, they will each keep their Chinese name as one of their middle names, but we want them each to have strong first names as well.  The boys were pretty easy actually.  The older of the two boys, who is now 18 months old will be William.  And the younger boy, who is almost 14 months old, will be Ethan.  And our little Jing Lan - because she is older, we definitely will give her an American first name, but give her the choice to go by either name.  Now to decide on that first name for Jing Lan.  We're torn between two of them - we'll have to make a definite decision soon.