Breaking news alert!

China has issued our LOA. It should arrive at our agency in 2 days.

In less than 10 days, the LOA *should* be here.
Last night, I spent over 2 hours filling out Meili's USA immigration forms. I'm lucky as my agency provided me with examples of completed forms. I cannot imagine what it's like to be a foreigner, with little to no english, trying to fill out these forms for an American visa. It really opened my eyes to the reality of immigration and why there are illegal immigrants.
This wait sucks! I cannot imagine what it would be like to wait 5+ years for a referral, like the folks in the NSN line have done. They are troopers! I'm impatient. On Saturday, Ben told my parents that he's amazed that I've done so well with the waiting. He hasn't been as involved in the paper chase as I have. He just shows up when I tell him to be somewhere, signs where I point to, and reads what I put in front of him. I'm the one who is online tracking wait times, congratulating those who make it to a milestone, and asking/answering questions from fellow adoptive families (usually other moms). He is just blissfully unaware of everything.

I was very proud of him this weekend! My mom or sister asked me a question regarding using a stroller in China. Without any prompting from me, Ben said that we won't need a stroller because we'll be carrying her everywhere. When asked why, he said that it helps with bonding and stuff. His almost exact words"Because she has to know that we are her parents. She has to get used to us and this is one way to do that." I was proud and shocked at the same time. It looks like all the required Hague training and my words of wisdom have finally settled in.

10 more days to the average wait time for LOA....
Day 36 of the LOA wait....it's agonizing. This has been the hardest part so far. I think it's because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's only the size of a flashlight but it is there!

I emailed my agency yesterday to see if they'd ask their China rep as to where we are in the line. Because of the time difference between China and the USA, it may take a few days before I hear back. According to the travel to TA table on RQ, the average wait time is 52 days. 16-17 more days to go... UGH! Based on this table, LOA should arrive the week of July 4th. Of course this would happen to us - I'll be out of town at a conference for the entire week. If it does arrive while I'm gone, we'll just have to wait to sign it and send in the I-800
Nothing to report. I'm just obsessing and need something to do to fill my time. I've checked RQ about 10 times today, perused other families' blogs, read a few that are in China right now, and watched youtube videos of Chinese adoptions. I can honestly say that I'm very prepared to travel to China. Now if the LOA would arrive, traveling could occur.

We're approaching the half way point on the wait for our LOA/LSC. It's the 'official' approval from China. We're just 'pre-approved' right now to be Meili's parents. LOA is slang for LSC. Confusing? Not really.

LOA = Letter of Approval
LSC = Letter Seeking Confirmation

Since most of the Chinese adoption community uses LOA, it's what we're using too. Though it means the same as LSC... A few people on RQ have received their LOA within 30 days. The travel to TA table says the average wait time is 51 days. My guess is 60-ish days. And a few RQers have been waiting over 100 days. There really is no rhyme or reason to the wait time. Once LOA is here, we have to send the I-800 application to the lockbox in Texas. At this point, it's a done deal and let the party start!

I've been checking plane ticket prices to China. The cheapest flights I've found are  flying LR - Detroit - Hong Kong on Delta. We'll be using a travel agent to purchase the tickets so he/she may be able to find a better deal. If we have to fly to Beijing (which I hope we don't), the plane tickets are significantly higher. We'd also have to add an in-country flight. The weight limit on suitcases is lower for domestic flights than international flights. I don't plan on bringing many clothes, but Ben has been known to fill up a suitcase with clothes and toiletries. (Hi Honey!)

I've also started thinking about the SWI donation. We can order money from our bank. We can also pay a fee for them to wire the donation to a bank in China. I'm gonna check this out as I'd rather pay a few bucks than to worry about carrying thousands of dollars on my body. On the flip side - the bank could never 'receive' the wire and we'd have to somehow come up with the donation. I need to find out more from the bank before making a definite decision and ask my agency if this has ever been done before.

I'm starting to get ansy. I'm ready to be there N.O.W. Heck, I'd even rent an apartment in China until we get the 'go ahead sign' from both governments. Unfortunately, the Hague treaty doesn't allow contact until the adoption is ready to occur.

We received update #2 yesterday via email. Our girl is big by Chinese standards - 85% in height and weight and normal by American standards - 55% in height and weight. She is almost the size of my 19 month old niece, Piper. When we started this journey, I expected her to be small. Big kids run in my family so at least she has this in common with us (even though we don't share the same DNA).

Update #2 is an official report from the SWI. However, some of the information does not match the information from the referral, like her birth date, location of her SN, etc. And, the update contains standard responses that I see on many other families' blogs. Because of this, I don't put a lot of trust into the content of the updates. I just like them for the photos. By looking at the photos, I can tell that she is growing and developing. In the end, this is all that matters.