The internet truly amazes me! After emailing HOG, Ben and I get to talk/see Meili for the first time on Tuesday @ 9:45 pm. They converse with adoptive parents on Wednesday mornings China time. This is Tuesday night for us as they're 13 hours ahead of us. I can't wait!
Meili's 1st birthday was on July 13. We sent her a cake and HOG had a party for her. Here are the photos from that special day:
I received an unofficial update from HOG today. It's the same information that they send to the CCAA on the 20th of each month.

She is a beautiful and happy 1 year old girl, who loves to express herself and smiles a lot. When she first came to House of Grace, she was very sickly but now she can almost walk by holding the hands of the nanny. She can also sit and crawl in that position very fast. She can say “mum mum, da da" and a lot more very clearly. She is very confident and determine to go wherever she wants and get what she likes. Fu Fu (that is what we call her here, but if you want we can start calling her the name you have given her) can even sit on a low stool all by herself and whirl around sitting on it. She loves to be attended to by the nanny than to play with things, like the toy cars you sent yesterday. She and her room-mate, Fern, always fight for the full attention of the nanny. Anyway, we are trying to teach them to be more patient and wait for their turn and share. Basically she is a very expressive, intelligent and happy girl. However, she is stranger shy, she still cries when we have volunteers come visit the home. We have a volunteer who has come every afternoon for over 3 weeks now, Fu Fu still cries when she notices her. But we want to train her as much as we could, we let the volunteer does fun things with her and give her cookies etc. Also we take her and other babies to walks in the park or the shopping mall when we have enough hands so as to expose them to real life situation. To prepare her for lives aboard we teach her simple English words and sing English songs with her and at times she would move her body or clap her hands along with the rhythm. We have posted your picture on the wall next to her bed and let her points to you, when she is put to bed or awaken. She sure is a fun seeking and adorable little girl. We all love her dearly.
Her measurements as on July 20, 2011 are:
Weight 10 kg, Height 76.5cm, Head 44cm, Chest 49cm, Foot 12cm,
Teeth top 2, bottom 2

The measurements when translated to the USA system are:
weight 22 lbs, height 30 inches, head 17 inches, chest 19 inches, foot 5 inches
I sent my first email to the NVC (National Visa Center) today to check on the status of our case's cable. I just want to give a quick shout out to Courtney for her directions on her website. By following them, I was already ahead of the game. The NVC sent me back one of those automated email responses requesting certain information. Thanks to Courtney, I included all of this information in my original email. I figure that I'll hear something back from them tomorrow.
Best scenario? ...that we've been cabled and I receive a pdf letter in my inbox tomorrow!
Current {wishful} timeline projections based on a cable of this week:
Week of August 1: Article 5 drop-off
Week of August 15: Article 5 pick-up
Week of September 12: TA & CA issued
Week of late September: Travel to China

The Canton Trade Fair in Guangzhou starts October 15 and runs thru November 4. We have to either travel before these dates or after. Hotel prices triple during the fair and we cannot afford the prices. China also celebrates National Day on October 1. Their federal/provinical government typically shuts down for a few days around this time, thus adoptions cannot be processed. It'll be interesting to see how this travel situation plays out. While I would [LOVE] to travel at the end of September, I've been planning for 6 months now to travel November 1-15. I told Ben last night about the possibility of traveling in 8 weeks. I expected him to just say ok and to pretty much ignore what I was saying. He typically 'tunes me out' when I start chattering about the adoption process. But 8 weeks caught his attention! The normally level-headed Ben turned into an emotional Ben. What!?! We can't go in 8 weeks. We're not ready! Plane tickets will be too expensive. Her room isn't put together. He just sort of started rambling about expense and it being too soon. Inside, I was chuckling. In the end, I said something to the effect of when we get TA, we have to buy plane tickets and the agency will take care of the rest. He made me agree that we'd decide jointly on our plane tickets. I think he's worried that I'll purchase first class seats on the first available flight to China. That's funny! The economy plane tickets, themselves, are almost as expensive as the entire trip while in China, including hotel, guide, and food. Like I would pay $14,000 for plane tickets! He's a funny man....kind of like my Dad.

Just received the following email from my USCIS Immigration Officer:

Your application was approved on July 21, 2011.  You should be receiving the notice soon in the mail.  Thank You.

Next step? The approval is sent to the National Visa Center. They 'cable' or email the approval to the US consulate in Guangzhou. I will email them to send me a pdf version of the 'cable' via email. My agency must have a copy of this in order to proceed to the following steps.

It's getting closer! Meili will soon be coming home.
A few people on RQ have received their provisional approval for their I-800. Since I haven't heard anything, I figured that I would email USCIS and see where they're at with mine. Maybe the email will give them incentive to finish it before the weekend! I mailed off our visa requests. The courier should have received them today. It will take a week or so to receive those back. Other than these 2 things, there is really nothing to report for the adoption.
I emailed the USCIS on Monday about Ben's incorrect DOB on the receipt letter. About 2 hours later, they emailed me back. They corrected it in their system. Since I brought this to their attention, maybe we'll get our I-800 provisionally approved quicker. LOL! Now that's some adoption humor for you right there.
My Dad emailed me on Friday and said that his photo was in China too! See for yourself below. My Dad is a funny guy. Or at least he tries to be. 
We received a letter from USCIS today. Basically, it just states that they received our I-800 application for Meili. I scanned over the letter and sat it down on the table. Something told me to take a better look at it....maybe it was God? I went back to the dining table and really studied the letter. Something wasn't right. My information was correct. It listed Ben and Meili. Then, there it was. Ben's date of birth was listed as 1980 instead of 1970. He was 10 years younger!!! Since all information has to be correct, I will call USCIS on Monday. Better yet, I'll email them. It's just another step in the process to bring Meili home.
Ann sent me 6 new photos this morning. All I can say is WOW! She is getting so tall. She got our first care package too. That's evident by the photo taped to the wall by her crib. It cracks me up -- to think that our faces are on a wall in China for our daughter to look at each day. This photo was taken on 7/11 - just 4 days ago.

We also received more fantastic news! The leader of the orphanage staff provided us with her email address and wants us to skype with them and Meili. They've started doing this for adoptive families. She and her husband know English fairly well. I'm going to contact her this weekend and get this set up ASAP!