“For I know the plans I have for you…to give you hope and a future.”

With Great Joy We Introduce Our Newest Son Aaron Donald Walsh Ho

With Great Joy We Introduce Our Newest Son Aaron Donald Walsh Ho
Born January 17, 2007 Guangdong Province, The People's Republic of China Forever Ours April 12, 2010
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

TA IS HERE!!!!!!!!! (Edited for most recent info.)

What an Easter gift! Our TA arrived today! FINALLY!
We believe we are leaving Vermont this coming Tuesday, April 6th and meeting Aaron on Monday, April 12th. Just waiting for Aaron's visa appt. to be scheduled (hopefully the 19th) which determines all the other dates.
Hang on litte boy - Mommy and Daddy are on their way!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Still Here (in the U.S.), Still Waiting for TA

Today when Donovan got up from his nap, a piggy bank I had ordered for Aaron was delivered by Fed Ex. Donovan said, "It's taking so many days for Aaron to get here!" Agreed!
I must admit it's quite depressing and very frustrating to still be here in the U.S. Frustrating that a darn piece of paper is keeping us apart from our son, and keeping him in an orphanage in China. Next week will be 4 weeks since we signed LOA. No one seems to have any idea why hardly any TAs have been issued by the CCAA since Chinese New Year. Our agency has put in several requests to CCAA to expedite our TA for Aaron, even asked if a copy could be faxed to the agency. (That way at least, our appointment with the American Consulate/Embassy could be scheduled, which dictates all the rest of the appointments, and we could then book our flights.) No response from CCAA. We are praying it comes Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. If it does...there is a chance we could be on a plane on Saturday or Easter Sunday.
On a more positive note, the Easter Bunny's helpers put together one two wheel bike (with training wheels) for Donovan. Of course, even that had me teary, as Easter Sunday was the date we were to arrive in Vermont, if we had traveled last week as hoped.
Next post on our blog will be the announcement that we have TA, followed by our specific itinerary for our trip.
Hang On Aaron...Mommy and Daddy are coming soon!

The Songs Fit...

Rupert finished with my MP3 player, uploading the albums and songs I wanted for the LONG plane ride. I remember listening to a lot of Enya in college, while studying and when falling asleep...and made sure to include some of their albums for this trip. Three songs have especially poignant lyrics for our current situation and journey before us...

If I Could Be Where You Are (Enya)
Where are you this moment -
only in my dreams.
You're missing, but you're always
a heartbeat from me.
I'm lost now without you,
I don't know where you are.
I keep watching, I keep hoping,
but time keeps us apart.

If I could be close beside you,
if I could be where you are,
if I could reach out and touch you
and bring you back home.
Is there's a way I can find you,
Is there's a sign I should know,
Is there's a road I can follow
to bring you back home to me?

Long, Long Journey (Enya)
Long, long journey
through the darkness,
long, long way to go;
but what are miles
across the ocean
to the heart that's coming home?

China Roses (Enya)
Who can tell me if we have heaven,
who can say the way it should be;

A new moon leads me to
woods of dreams and I follow.
A new world waits for me;
my dream, my way.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"I Miss Aaron, Mommy."

First of all, let me say that I am absolutely thrilled that Donovan loves board games as much as I did when I was his age. Unlike me, Donovan is a great sport. When he wins, he cheers us on to finish. When one of us wins, he says, "Great job," and gives us a high five. (Certainly not like I was, when I would just get the "Old Maid" card in my hand - not even lose yet - and run out of the room crying!" So far we've introduced Candy Land, Hi Ho Cherry-o, Memory (with these really cool bamboo squares with animals on them), and Chutes and Ladders (with Sesame Street characters).
So tonight, after dinner, Donovan took out Candy Land. He chose the green person, I chose the yellow, and Rupert chose the blue. That left the red piece. Donovan said, "The red one is for Aaron." I said, "I wish Aaron was here tonight to play the game with us." To which Donovan said, "I miss Aaron, Mommy. When is my brother coming? Do you think it will be tomorrow?"
Oh, I so wish we were getting on a plane tomorrow!! It is so frustrating to know that a single piece of paper (Travel Approval) is keeping us apart from our son, and keeping our son waiting in an orphanage in China. Hoping and praying the TA comes this week...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another Little Boy (Carter) Met His Family Today!

An online friend of mine, Erica, who is with our same agency and I had hoped to travel with, met her new son, Carter this morning in Guangzhou. He is simply GORGEOUS! He is about a year and a half old. He arrived in the most beautiful royal blue traditional Chinese outfit, with a gold dragon the front. In the HUNDREDS of blogs I have followed, I have NEVER seen a child brought to meet his/her new family, dressed so fancy. He is so gorgeous and looks so happy. Erica and her husband have a beautiful daughter, Amelia, who they also adopted from China. Now she is a big sister.
I am filled with joy reading their blog and seeing their new son, and am looking forward to our trip...and hoping it is SOON!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Boys' Bedroom (more improvements)

Grandma found these wall hangings recently for Aaron and Donovan's bedroom. They came as a set of three - red pickup truck, blue front loader, green cement mixer. She bought one set, and then went back to the store and bought a second set!
We considered several combinations and locations within the bedroom, and in the end decided to arrange them in a line across the full length of the wall. Donovan helped pick out the pattern of red, blue, green, red, blue, green. Three of the vehicles are above Aaron's bed, and the other three are above Donovan's bed and the bookcase. Before nap and bed each day, Donovan says, "That's my green cement mixer, and that's my blue front loader, and that's my red pickup truck. I have three. That's Aaron's green cement mixer, and that's Aaron's blue front loader, and that's Aaron's red pickup truck. He has three."
Now, we just need Aaron...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Have Visas, Will Travel...(Still don't know when!)

Well, we continue to await the arrival of our Travel Approval, so that we can book our flights and hotel rooms. In the meantime, last Tuesday our Passports were delivered back to us by Fed. Ex. with our Chinese Visas inside. We now officially have permission to enter China. I continue to be surprised and quite frustrated with how long every step seems to take for us, keeping in mind we are a family who submitted our dossier in March of 2008, our dossier had already been reviewed, and we had all the necessary updates, etc. Our Visas are just one more example. The Visa application indicates it takes 3-4 days to be processed. Because these must be hand-delivered to the Chinese Consulate, and since the nearest one is in NYC, we used a courier service that our agency recommended we use. Everyone else I know (think hundreds of online "friends") took 7-14 days to get theirs back. Ours...30 days. Now, I realize Chinese New Year may have impacted us by 5 working days, but still! We specifically overnighted our Passports and Visa applications to the courier service, on Feb. 8th (CNY was the 14th), so technically, there was plenty of time for them to be processed BEFORE CNY.
I realize once we have our son, Aaron, in our arms, none of the individual frustrations during this time of waiting will matter at all anymore - just as my 3 months of bedrest waiting for Donovan now seem like no big deal (though they did at the time!). However, as we continue to wait for our Travel Approval (and have been packed and ready to go for over two weeks now,) these little things that are keeping us from our son...and keeping our son in an orphanage in China, are really on my mind.
Hoping our Travel Approval will come this week!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Looking ahead to the Medical Exam in Guangzhou...

Quite a few friends and relatives have asked me in the past few days if Aaron will need to get mass immunizations at the U.S. Medical Exam in Guangzhou before his U.S. Visa will be issued, allowing him to travel to the U.S. They have asked because of the very difficult situation my online friend, Diana and her family's have experienced this week with their new, beautiful daughter, Sienna Grace. (Their blog is the last one on my blog list on the right side of my blog; it's listed as myadoptionwebsite.com) Poor Sienna was forced (by the U.S. government) to receive SEVEN immunizations at one time in order to be granted permission to come to the U.S. (Keep in mind children in China have already received many of the same immunizations children in the U.S. receive.) Within hours Sienna developed a fever of 104! and began vomiting. I cannot imagine the fear this family faced being in a foreign country with a very ill child. Their experience at a modern hospital in Guangzhou is unbelievable and frightening...they ended up leaving before being seen. The good news is that Sienna has been granted an expedited visa for medical reasons and will be coming to the U.S. on Saturday. It is unfortunate that she had to go through all of this. And, it is unfair. Biological children born to U.S. citizens living abroad are not subject to mandatory vaccinations or TB testing prior to coming to the U.S. However, children adopted in foreign countries by U.S. citizens are required to receive these immunizations and undergo TB testing before being allowed into the U.S. This is absolutely discrimination. Children adopted internationally by U.S. citizens should be treated the same as children born to U.S. citizens living abroad. There are currently acts before Congress to try to correct this injustice...

The good news for our family, is that Aaron will NOT be receiving immunizations at the medical exam. We are an I600 family, under the USCIS, and are allowed to present a vaccination affidavit exempting Aaron from immunizations while in China. Unfortunately, for many other families adopting children from China, including Sienna Grace's family, the newer USCIS paperwork called I800 requires children to receive mass vaccinations as part of the medical exam. In this way we are quite fortunate. However, all children over 2 must undergo TB testing in Guangzhou before being issued a U.S. Visa. We have no reason to think there will be any problem with this, but have followed the stories of two families in the past six months who were stuck in China for an extended period of time when their new child tested positive for TB. (Again, U.S. citizens and their children traveling abroad do not have to be tested for TB before entering/reentering the U.S, but now those children adopted by U.S. citizens do...This simply must be changed.)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

"Mommy, When is Aaron Coming?"

This is Donovan's question he asks at least once a day. Tonight, riding in the backseat with him (after Grandma watched him while Rupert and I enjoyed a lovely dinner out), he asked me this question. I followed with my usual, "I'm not sure Donovan, but he's coming. He lives very far away. Mommy and Daddy will have to go get him. Remember, Grandma is going to stay with you at our house while we are gone. I think maybe when all the snow has melted, it will be about time for Aaron to be coming." This is how our daily conversation about this usually ends...
But tonight, in the car, Donovan then looked at me so sweetly, put his hand on my cheek and said, "Aaron really needs a Mommy like this. He needs this kind of Mommy." And, then he pointed to Rupert driving the car and said, "Aaron needs this kind of Daddy." I then put my hand on Donovan's cheek and said, "Aaron needs this kind of brother named Donovan." (and by then tears filling my eyes!)
It won't be long now, but oh, it's so hard to wait (especially for me, an ultraplanner), not knowing exactly when we will be getting on that plane. We are packed and ready and waiting. Fingers crossed we will be in China by the end of March to meet our new son, Aaron.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Picture Below Says it All! (FINALLY!!!)

MySpace Widgets

FINALLY!!!...Our long awaited LOA (Letter of Approval) has arrived, after 53 LONG days of waiting for it since submitting our Letter of Intent to adopt Bao Xinsheng. Next step...we wait (hopefully just a couple of weeks) for our Travel Approval. Hoping we will still travel by the end of March.