Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Like pretty much everything in life there are special acronyms that go with the world of adoption. You have learned a few with me so far. SW and HS would be two examples that come to mind. Today I found out that we are "NVC In". This means that our I600: Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative has been approved and that the approval has made it's way to the National Visa Center. The extremely nice man at the NVC told me that our approval just arrived at their office and we should expect to be "NVC Out" in a few days.

"NVC Out" means that our paper work had been forwarded to the Embassy. I have been told it will be about 10 more days before I will be able to find out anything. At that point I call the DC Visa to find out about Christian's appointment in Seoul for his visa.

He asked for our email so I hope to get a message regarding the NVC Out by the middle of next week. If not I suppose I will call NVC again to check on our status.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Making room for baby

Frig and I have been slowly working on making room for Christian. The first step was to organize the closets. We had a bunch of stuff that needed to go to Goodwill. I had Frig take a large load, after documenting every item for tax reasons, but of course I have found more. There was also a lot of teacher stuff taking up a large amount of space in one of the nursery closets. We took it all up to the school's lounge and let a bunch of people know it was there for the taking.In order to organize all of the remaining stuff we purchased some metal shelves at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Everything looks so tidy and neat now or the inside of a few closets do any how.

I also purchased a few items from the cafepress.com website I mentioned months back. "What are Korean baby boys made of? Kimchi with spice and mandoo with rice. That's what Korean baby boys are made of."

"I'm expecting a baby from South Korea" - At least when I am wearing this shirt strangers will know that I am an expectant mother.

Now I am off to browse through the adoption announcements at the sister site, thefirstglimpse.com, I am sure it will be hard to make a choice.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fourth period mayhem

I don't know what it is about getting contacted for the adoption, but it always seems to happen when I have math fourth period. Every other day I have a study lab last, and it would be a lot less disruptive to my focus if these people would get on my schedule. It makes it so difficult, read nearly impossible, for me to continue to focus on the 31 children in my room when I have anything I need to take care of regarding my one child in Korea.

First it was the cell phone. It was on vibrate, but in my pocket, so I knew I had received a call. I was able to refrain from checking for a good while, but the moment I had a second to myself I had to take a look. The call came from an Unkown number and there was a voicemail. I couldn't resist myself and checked the message. It started out kind of frightening "This message is for Rachel and Chris Ratcliff. This if officer Angela Harris calling about your adoption." As I listened to message I deduced that the agents at the USCIS office are referred to as "officers" and she asked that I call her regarding some missing paperwork.

I look up and see eager faces and several hands raised. I run around putting out fires. All hands are down, kids are working quietly, and I look at the clock. 30 minutes left in class. I can't make it that long. I have to call her back. All hands still down - I go for it! A very nice younger woman answers the phone. After I tell her who I am she lets me know what paperwork it is that she needs. I happen to have it as a Pdf in an email from the SW. She gives me her email so I can forward it on. I ask her to please reply confirming receipt.

More hands up, more fires to put out, and back to check if there is a reply. Low and behold there is an email from the international agency. It contains the most recent Wellbaby report from Korea. They saw Christian on 4/27/10. He was 2 ft 9 inches and weighed 24.7 lbs (yes I did have to do a metric to customary conversion.

Our little guys is doing GREAT! My mom, an expert in 2 year olds from her years teaching them, was very impressed by his development as well which is confirming. He helps dress himself, can take socks on and off, pull a zipper up and down, and is easy to bathe. He will put four blocks together, open drawers to put things in and take them out, and throws/kicks balls. He has a sweet side and will hug and kiss a doll. He can say mom, meal, and milk. He will run simple errands like throwing away the trash. He is a runner and climber. He LOVES to eat!

When I got home there was a reply from Officer Harris: I did receive it, thank you! Since your I-600A was already forwarded to the National Visa Center , I can go ahead and recommend your I-600 application for approval. Have a good day.

I don't thing she realizes that "good" does not even begin to describe my day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lots of Reading

Frig and I have been passing the wait with reading. He and I are each reading different books that cover adoption topics. Yesterday when we returned home we sat reading and swapping quotes that really stuck us as important.

There is something I hope all of you will take the time to read. Our international agency sent it to us yesterday. When Christian does finally arrive home, and the three of us close ourselves off from the world, please think about the woman in the story below.

A Different Perspective
Hanky required. For anyone considering adoption, please read this article.

November 01,2006 / Cynthia Hockman-Chupp
Imagine for a moment....
You have met the person you've dreamed about all your life. He has every quality that you desire in a spouse. You plan for the wedding, enjoying every free moment with your fiancée. You love his touch, his smell, the way he looks into your eyes. For the first time in your life, you understand what is meant by soul mate, for this person understands you in a way that no one else does. Your heart beats in rhythm with his. Your emotions are intimately tied to his every joy, his every sorrow.

The wedding comes. It is a happy celebration, but the best part is that you are finally the wife of this wonderful man. You fall asleep that night, exhausted from the day's events, but relaxed and joyful in the knowledge that you are next to the person who loves you more than anyone in the worldthe person who will be with you for the rest of your life. The next morning you wake up, nestled in your partner's arms. You open your eyes and immediately look for his face. But it's not him! You are in the arms of another man. You recoil in horror. Who is this man? Where is your beloved? You ask questions of the new man, but it quickly becomes apparent that he doesn't understand you. You search every room in the house, calling and calling for your husband. The new guy follows you around, trying to hug you, pat you on the back. . .even trying to stroke your arm, acting like everything is okay. But you know that nothing is okay. Your beloved is gone. Where is he? Will he return? When? What has happened to him? Weeks pass. You cry and cry over the loss of your beloved. Sometimes you ache silently, in shock over what has happened. The new guy tries to comfort you. You appreciate his attempts, but he doesn't speak your language-either verbally or emotionally. He doesn't seem to realize the terrible thing that has happened...that your sweetheart is gone.

You find it difficult to sleep. The new guy tries to comfort you at bedtime with soft words and gentle touches, but you avoid him, preferring to sleep alone, away from him and any intimate words or contact. Months later, you still ache for your beloved, but gradually you are learning to trust this new guy. He's finally learned that you like your coffee black, not doctored up with cream and sugar. Although you still don't understand his bedtime songs, you like the lilt of his voice and take some comfort in it. More time passes. One morning, you wake up to find a full suitcase sitting next to the front door.

You try to ask him about it, but he just takes you by the hand and leads you to the car. You drive and drive and drive. Nothing is familiar. Where are you? Where is he taking you? You pull up to a large building. He leads you to an elevator and up to a room filled with people. Many are crying. Some are ecstatic with joy. You are confused. And worried. The man leads you over to the corner. Another man opens his arms and sweeps you up in an embrace. He rubs your back and kisses your cheeks, obviously thrilled to see you. You are anything but thrilled to see him. Who in the world is he? Where is your beloved? You reach for the man who brought you, but he just smiles (although he seems to be tearing up, which concerns you), pats you on the back, and puts your hand in the hands of the new guy. The new guy picks up your suitcase and leads you to the door. The familiar face starts openly crying, waving and waving as the elevator doors close on you and the new guy. The new guy drives you to an airport and you follow him, not knowing what else to do. Sometimes you cry, but then the new guy tries to make you smile, so you grin back, wanting to get along. You board a plane. The flight is long. You sleep a lot, wanting to mentally escape from the situation.

Hours later, the plane touches down. The new guy is very excited and leads you into the airport where dozens of people are there to greet you. Light bulbs flash as your photo is taken again and again. The new guy takes you to another guy who hugs you. Who is this one? You smile at him. Then you are taken to another man who pats your back and kisses your cheek. Then yet another fellow gives you a big hug and messes your hair. Finally, someone (which guy is this?) pulls you into his arms with the biggest hug you've ever had. He kisses you all over your cheeks and croons to you in some language you've never heard before. He leads you to a car and drives you to another location. Everything here looks different. The climate is not what you're used to. The smells are strange. Nothing tastes familiar, except for the black coffee. You wonder if someone told him that you like your coffee black. You find it nearly impossible to sleep. Sometimes you lie in bed for hours, staring into the blackness, furious with your husband for leaving you, yet aching from the loss. The new guy checks on you. He seems concerned and tries to comfort you with soft words and a mug of warm milk. You turn away, pretending to go to asleep.

People come to the house. You can feel the anxiety start to bubble over as you look into the faces of all the new people. You tightly grasp the new guy's hand. He pulls you closer. People smile and nudge one other, marveling at how quickly you've fallen in love. Strangers reach for you, wanting to be a part of the happiness. Each time a man hugs you, you wonder if he will be the one to take you away. Just in case, you keep your suitcase packed and ready. Although the man at this house is nice and you're hanging on for dear life, you've learned from experience that men come and go, so you just wait in expectation for the next one to come along.

Each morning, the new guy hands you a cup of coffee and looks at you expectantly. A couple of times the pain and anger for your husband is so great that you lash out, sending hot coffee across the room, causing the new guy to yelp in pain. He just looks at you, bewildered. But most of the time you calmly take the cup. You give him a smile. And wait. And wait. And wait.
How would each of us handle all these changes?
How would this impact us for the rest of our lives?

As an aside, I just got an email (12:24 CST 05/06/2010) from FedEx. I LOVE my local agency! The
social worker in Austin made sure we got notification of her having sent the I600 to USCIS overnight FedEx which includes the tracking number. She is so thoughtful!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Purchases and Paperwork

his weekend Frig and I were blessed with my parents company. My mom and I spent time on both Sunday and Saturday shopping. She was very helpful with suggestions for the registry while and Target. Mom also bought the frog trash can, that ribbits when opened, and a small stuffed frog while we were there. Ikea was another big hit. Frig and I now have a kitchen table and two chairs. We have always eaten in the Greatroom until now, but a toddler eating over carpet just doesn't seem like a good idea. While at Ikea we also bought, or should I say mom bought, a blanket that looks like a frog.

In the paperwork arena, we received an email regarding the final USCIS paperwork today. This document is supposed to be accompanied by Christian's "legals". Normally the parents send the form to USCIS, but our local agency will do so for us because his legals contain information about Christian's birth family. The very nice lady at the local agency is going to see if we can get an abridged copy of the legals. I was so nervous about filling out the form incorrectly, after what happened with the last USCIS form, that I called our international agency and they kindly walked me through it over the phone.