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Juggling act continues

A few weeks ago, after we realized that we would be adopting Hannah, I had been reading pages of information from various sites regarding the steps we would need to take to get her home.  The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) requires an extensive application (I-600 or I-600 A) for a non-Hague process country (Taiwan is not part of The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation and Respect of Intercountry Adoption), that included the need for a home study by a licensed professional social worker.  I know of another American couple here in Taiwan who is adopting a little girl, but they did their home study prior to moving to the R.O.C.  We didn't even know we would be adding a family member a month ago, let alone a year ago, so I had no idea how we could get the crucial home study done.  I tried contacting local adoption agencies, all who referred me to the AIT (American Institute in Taiwan) to find someone.  I took the trek to the AIT (I've been there three times so far--it's such an ordeal, needing appointments, having limited times available) and they gave me a phone number of a place in Taipei who might be able to help us, but said there is a one-year waiting list. 

As I was lying in bed one night, unable to sleep since I was thinking of everything that needed to be done before we could move back in August, hopefully with our new daughter, I had an epiphany of whom to contact.  I wondered if Josh from The R House, who had previously worked for LDS Family Services (the agency for our two previous adoptions) but had recently begun a consulting business with his wife, a huge advocate for adoption, might be able to do it.  Since it was the middle of the night here in Asia, it would be daytime in America, so I emailed Josh and he called me right back.  I had read on the I-600 A form (there's a form to tell you how to fill out another form--it's SOOO complicated) that US citizens living abroad could use a social worker who is licensed in any state to do our home study.  I contacted Josh, aka Mr. R, and asked him if he would be willing to come to Taiwan to do our home study, and he agreed.  I booked his flight, hotel room, and started filling out loads of paperwork that he sent to us electronically, then started arranging medical appointments to show that we are in good health, police background checks to make sure we're not criminals, and the list goes on.  Josh was out here last week and we should be ready to submit our USCIS form to the AIT next week, fingers crossed.
Every time we go to Taipei, I still get a thrill from seeing the 101 in the background, it's my geographic reference point when I can catch a glimpse of the world's second tallest building between other structures.  Later, I tried to take a picture of the AIT building in case any one else might need to go there and would like to have an idea what to look for, but a security guard stopped me just before I clicked the photo.  I didn't think the signs that had a camera in a circle with a line across it applied to me (oops!) since I was standing next to the exterior of the building.  I assumed they meant to not take pictures once you're inside.  Even though the AIT is somewhat hidden with a small entrance area, it was still fairly easy to locate, then the next challenging feat of finding a place to park, was not that much of an ordeal, surprisingly.
Our little Ni Ni, also known as Hannah, celebrated her 8th birthday on Friday last week, and here we are at a restaurant that her birthfather likes, where he treated us and a few friends to dinner.  Hannah came home with us again that night, and has been spending the weekends with us and goes back to her dad's on Sunday evenings for the school week.  School will be out in a few days, then she will move in with us permanently.  She calls us and messages me online in the meantime.  Our conversations are quite funny, considering our language barrier, but will add more on that in another post. 
Good morning, Hannah! Here she is with her little stuffed animals that her "American daddy" brought her, and the new pajamas that I asked him to bring home after his business trip to California.  Kelly called me from Target and had no clue what to shop for when I said to get her a nightgown since she'd been sleeping in Christopher's oversized t-shirts, "Well, there's this yellow one with pandas on it."  Sure, that sounds cute.  He did great, I think!
As our time in Hsinchu starts to wind down, I'm soaking in the beauty of all the green and tropical plants that make this place so pretty.
 These well-groomed shrubs are in the Science Park close to Kelly's work, and I always enjoy this drive.
Here's an after church pose.  I found this size 6X brown and white zebra striped dress, accented with pink, at Costco.  Kelly had also gotten the white tights for her at Target. The thought of him shopping for little girls' nightgowns and tights still cracks me up, since he has never been much of a shopper, let alone for an 8-year-old.  I asked Mrs. R, Josh's wife, if she could shop for a few outfits for Hannah to send over with her husband to deliver when he would be arriving in Taiwan to do the home study.  She did a great job and I was excited to receive the darling outfits she had chosen for our new daughter.
Our neighbors have done an excellent job house sitting for us, and sent this picture to me yesterday of a massive snakeskin that was hanging from a tree in our backyard.
We have less than two months left on the island, and I'm starting to get thrilled at the thought of going home and began perusing through this scrumptious cookbook, Reata, Legendary Texas Cuisine, a gift from Denise, a sweet friend in our neighborhood back home.  I'm looking forward to hosting a big fiesta when we return to Texas to introduce our Taiwanese girl and to be back in the land of the free and the home of the brave.


Texas Dimons said…
Kelly, I was out of town when I saw the post about adopting and couldn't comment on my phone...just wanted to tell you congratulations! That is so exciting! We never know what the Lord has in store for us do we?! Anyways, enjoy your last bit of time away.
Bobbi said…
What an exciting and wonderful result for you to end up with Hannah from your time in Taiwan! Who knew?! She's darling. Good luck with all the rest of the process.
And really, you have snakes that big in Texas? In your yard? Yikes! You Texans are brave people! I remember Heidi telling us about a 5 foot black snake that slithered across the sidewalk in front of her when she worked in Austin.
Dianne said…
Oh yes, the mounds of paperwork and busy homestudy, and yours is even more tricky. I'm sure you'll be blessed to have it go well, but what a process it is.

Hannah is beautiful! (love her pink glasses), and looks like she fits right in! The Lord definitely has a hand in that.

What a huge snake! Funny, a small snake somehow slithered in our house today (luckily downstairs), but still freaked me out. Nick saved the day.
Enjoy your last couple of months in Taiwan.
mrs. r said…
I LOVE that she is wearing the necklace!


I am so thrilled for you guys!

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