Monday, November 30, 2009

China or Bust!

I know, it's been a while since we've updated this blog. We'll we actually have news to tell. We're on our way to China to pick up Elyssa!

On the 23rd of November, we received word that we had to be in China on the 4th of December! Since Brian is in Baghdad, and in the Army, the first thing we had to find out was if he could take his Rest and Relaxation (R&R) leave to coincide with the adoption trip. After asking his boss after a sleepless night, we were happy to get the green light from the powers that be.

The next few days consisted of Brian getting all the bureaucratic gates needed to get from a war zone to South Central China. In the meantime, Nancy was busy arranging and purchasing the trip to China. She also found time to hit Babies R Us and a few other places in order to get some of the basics we'd need in China. Holt held a phone conference on the 25th where families traveling called in and asked questions. Brian could here Nancy and her pre-school kids playing in the background of the call!

We will post as much as we can while on the trip. Brian will be flying nearly 25,000 miles on this trip as he will go from Baghdad to Kuwait, then to Beijing to meet Nancy. After a few days in Beijing, it'll be off to Kunming in Yunnan Province to meet our daughter! After a few days in Kunming, we;ll fly to Ghuanzhou to get our our immigration paperwork completed at the US Consulate there. Then it's off to LA where Brian will hopefully get to spend a few hours at home before heading back to Iraq for the last nine long months of his tour of duty.

Expect the next post on or about the 4th or 5th of December.

Monday, August 24, 2009

China Says Yes!

We just got word that the Chinese adoption authorities have approved our adoption! Not too bad since they have only had our dossier since late June. The next steps for us will be to file a Form I800 with Homeland Security (immigration). That should take about 2-6 weeks to get the form approved. The next step will be to get a travel date to China. This should be another 2-4 weeks. The only problem now is that Brian is going to Iraq next month for a year! We'll be trying to postpone that or have him take his R&R early so that we can meet in China to bring home our little girl!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Photos!

These photos just came in from the orphanage. Isn't she cute? We are waiting for permission from the Chinese government to travel to go get Elyssa. We can't wait!

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Update!

Here's the latest...

Our dossier was sent to the Chinese government a few weeks ago. This is a big deal when it comes to international adoption! The dossier is a compilation of all our hard work over the last year. Under the standard adoption program, families wait for about 40 weeks for a match after their dossier Log In Date (LID). We are fortunate as we already have a match with our little Elyssa Li. Now, we have to be patient as the Chinese government needs to review our dossier to ensure that they are ready to allow us to adopt our baby. So, the wait will probably be between 3-6 months until we can travel. This will make the trip quite challenging, from a logistical standpoint. Brian will have to probably fly from Iraq to Kuwait, and then on to Beijing during his R&R from Iraq. We hope he has enough time to fly back to Los Angeles. However, the R&R rules are very clear and he only has 15 days away from the job. As the average time in China for these trips is about 14 days, we are anticipating no time in the USA for Brian.

In other news, we got some additional documents about Elyssa this week. An email arrived that contained a few medical documents that the great staff at Holt translated into English for us. It said that Elyssa had a surgery to close her cleft lip last August. That is good news! What is not clear is whether her pallet was corrected. We do know for sure that her alveolar bone will need corrected as she gets older. Either way, we are ready to give her the best care possible when she comes home to the USA and are grateful for all the love and care she is receiving in China.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Travel Time May be a While Off...

We just got word that our time to travel to China may be a while from now. The big issue is that Brian is leaving for one year starting next fall. We were hoping to get Elyssa before he left. Now, our time to travel may be 4-6 months from when our Dossier gets to China. That wont happen until a few weeks from now. So, it looks like we may have to wait until Brian can come back on his rest and relaxation leave, which can happen in November at the earliest. Just when it looked like things were going to fall into place prior to his deployment...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I797-C is Here!

We finally received our last piece of paperwork for the dossier on Thursday! Brian attempted to get it notarized on Fort Lewis on Friday afternoon. Wouldn't you know it, they were closed! He'll go back to the legal office on Monday morning to get it taken care of. This will complete our dossier and we'll be able to send it off to China! I'm not sure how long it should take to get our travel approval, but we will apply for our visas as soon as possible so that we can take off ASAP!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quick update!

I don't tend to update this blog on a daily basis. So as not to make this a linear story, I'll get you caught up...

We are hoping to travel to Kunming very soon to bring home our daughter, Elyssa Li. We are just about complete with our adoption dossier. This dossier needs to be sent to the Chinese authorities who will review it and then, God willing, grant us permission to travel to China. We are awaiting and expecting a document from Homeland Security that allows up to bring Elyssa back to the States with us. This document will complete the dossier.

For those who are interested, here is a link to a very interesting article about the current state of international adoption in China:

What to do....?

The decision to adopt led Nancy and I on a journey to choose the "right" adoption agency. Foremost on our minds was the welfare of the children and families involved in the country that we would eventually choose for our adoption. We wanted to avoid any kind of corruption, human trafficking, or servitude. Popular media abounds with stories of young women in impoverished regions of the world serving as surrogates for western couples willing to pay thousands for their children. Although there may be legitimate agencies that perform these kinds of services, neither Nancy nor I could ever be sure that any surrogate we choose would have been doing so of her own free will, free from familial or societal pressures. As a result,we chose to adopt a child from an orphanage who may not have otherwise had a chance at finding her forever home.

Upon doing some research on the internet, we narrowed our search down to a few agencies. Brian had done some preliminary research while he was living in Korea in 2007. We were interested in the prospects of adopting a girl from one of the many orphanages in the Seoul area. Unfortunately, Korean law requires foreign couples to be married for at least five years before they can be considered for adoption. As we had only been married for four years at that time, we decided to hold off and look into the adoption process upon Brian's return home in July of that year.

After a few months of trying for our own baby, we finally decided to move the adoption process from the "let's think about it" phase to the "mission execution phase." The information provided by Holt International out of Eugene, Oregon really seemed to fall into line with what we were trying to accomplish. The agency was born after the Korean War. A couple from Sweethome, Oregon started Holt after they worked to bring back orphans from the many Korean orphanages overflowing with children following the bloody Korean War. Both Nancy and I were drawn to Holt's child centered approach to adoption. You can read more about Holt at their website ( We were convinced that we made the right choice after our friends told us that they had used Holt to adopt their beautiful little girl.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Welcome to Our Journey!

Welcome to all!  Nancy and I are starting this blog to let our friends and family join us in our journey to bring our precious daughter, Elyssa Li Forn, to her new home.  Many of you are already aware that we are in the process of adopting this little miracle from Kunming City, Yunnan, People's Republic of China. 

Nancy and I began this journey last May when we finally decided to adopt a child.  The amount of paperwork has been, at times, daunting.  However, we subscribed to the mantra of "Divide and Concur" and have completed most of the pre-requisites for the adoption.  

The first steps were to choose what agency to use for the adoption.  We chose to go with an international adoption for a number of reasons.  Most importantly, it is very difficult, and expensive, to adopt an infant in the states.  Since we wanted a little girl, we were interested in the Far East.  Brian has spent two years in Korea while serving in the Army, so we were very interested in children from the many Korean orphanages.  Unfortunately, Korean laws precluded us from adopting while Brian was recently serving in Ueijeongbu, just north of Seoul.  As a result, we decided to adopt from China.  As most of the children adopted from China are girls, this seemed a perfect fit.  The next step was choosing an adoption agency.

In our next blog, we'll tell the story of choosing an agency and the avalanche of paperwork (and bills) that came with the process.  Until then, God bless you all!

Nancy and Brian