Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!

Merry Christmas from Dean and Jennifer

Santa is packing up his bags and readying his sleigh.
Soon, he'll be on his way,
to bring you a Merry Christmas day.
We just wanted to say,
that we hope you have a wonderful holiday.

May all of the blessings of the season
visit you and yours,
bringing happiness galore
right to your front door.

And as you take in the lights and the snow,
in your heart may you always know,
that someone out there
is sending good wishes to you
and hoping that all of your greatest
Christmas wishes comes true.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A gift for the baby!

Last week I went to breakfast with my friend Katie and she gave me the sweetest little gift for the baby - I just have to share!

Blankie pal from Katie

Sort of ironic that about 15 years ago I fell in love with these little guys (called Flatso's by North American Bear Co.) and bought a similar larger version (before I miscarried) shown below together. When I bought the "stuffed" one so long ago, they didn't even make the cute little 'blankie' ones!

We are waiting for baby Shimizu to love us...

Our baby is already blessed (as are Dean and I) with so many people anxiously awaiting the arrival!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

US Embassy in Tokyo.....

We got an e-mail from Lesley the other day....and since the next few months will be quiet with respect to the adoption process - since we are 'officially' waiting to be selected (by a BioMom) - I figured I'd post it here and share
with everyone. Here is what Lesley had to say:

We received, by fax, your welcome letter from the US embassy in Tokyo. This is their way of acknowledging that they received the notice of your approval from your CIS office by way of the National Visa Center (NVC). So that is great to know that when we are ready to process your adoption, your paperwork is there waiting! Happy Holidays! Lesley

So that is our 'latest and greatest' news on the adoption front.

Dean and I both celebrated our birthdays in the past few days....we have a lot to celebrate right now - it is still surreal that someone out there is probably carrying our baby.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December 2, 2008 - Papers to Japan

2 December 08

Well I believe today is the day that our paperwork, album, and Dear BirthMother letter heads to Japan. Some day a perfect little someone special will be wearing this onesie!

Many of you have asked if we have chosen a name for the baby. We have picked American names which will be the baby's first name, and then picked three girl middle names, and two for a boy - keeping with the tradition of Dean's family.

Here are the middle names we picked (and their meanings) - remember from these names, the biomom will choose, and that will be the baby's middle name:

Sakura - cherry blossom
Sayuri - little (small) lily
Emiko - blessed/beautiful smiling child

Masahiro - broad minded
Akira - bright boy

Keep us in your prayers and keep all of the bio mothers in your prayers too, I cannot even imagine what they go through making plans for the future of their baby!

Thank You all for your love, prayers, and support, we will keep you posted!

Let us know you visited, leave a comment (right below every post there is a comment "button" with a pencil beside it, just click it and leave us a note.).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shopping Day

We had a productive weekend -- we have a crib! Well we will soon have a crib, it was ordered and will be delivered to Pottery Barn Kids in Chandler in just a couple of weeks! It is a beautiful crib as you can see - we ordered ours in Espresso (this crib is pictured in the Honey color).

We already have our bedding picked out and just have to wait to see if we get a boy or a girl to order it!

We hope that you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Family and Friends!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Visiting California families

Last week while we were in Northern California for our meeting with Lesley and Taz, we had the opportunity to meet a couple of families that have already adopted from Japan that we have been communicating with via e-mail.

It was very nice to catch up with Eryn, Gregor, and their girls Emi (adopted from Kazakhstan) and Miya (adopted from Japan) as well as Nancy (her hubby Tim wasn't able to join us this time, but we're hoping to meet him in December when we visit) and their kids Tripp and Kira (both adopted from Japan, *before the requirement was in place that you are only able to adopt if you don't have other children). The Cech's treated us to dinner at Taro's, along with another couple going through the process - Brian and Ju from Florida.

Back left Brian and Ju, us

Front left Nancy and Tripp, Miya and Eryn, Gregor and Emi

These families were the first and second to go through the Japan program, so of course we appreciate their insight, and seeing their adorable kids is an added bonus for us - it always helps to see that at the end of this journey we will really have a baby.

Here are a couple pictures of us with Kira - Kira is just 4 1/2 months old and very sweet and snuggly. I'm not sure Miya or Tripp would have appreciated us wanting to hold them, as they very mobile at almost 2 years old, but Miss Kira was very accommodating.

Jennifer, Dean, and Kira
Kira and Jennifer

Aren't they cute?!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Paper Ready"

Paper Ready!

As the saying goes in the adoption world - Dean and I are officially pregnant on paper - what does that mean? That means that our paperwork is done and ready to go to Japan with Taz the next time she goes!

As you may have read below, our I-171H arrived in the mail right before we left for California for our meeting at ATWA. The above photo shows Lesley (ATWA director), Me, Taz (Japan facilitator) and Dean at our meeting Monday.

We now begin the wait process. Keep us in your prayers, we are hoping that our baby is growing in a very special birth mother, that she is taking very good care of herself and that she has an uneventful pregnancy and an easy delivery. Please keep her in your prayers as well.

Our preference is that we do not know when our file is being viewed. We want to find out once the baby is born, we have been chosen, and the birth mom has signed the pertinent paperwork. We have NO idea when this will happen - all we know is when the baby that is supposed to be our baby is born --- we will find out. We are patient and we believe that our baby is out there and we will find each other when the time is right.

We ask that you check here --- we will update our blog as soon as we hear something!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Last weekend I put this on our wall above the fireplace in our living room - I truly believe what it says!
As you know we left for California Thursday evening. Before we left Dean and I were driving home from work and I saw the mail lady in our neighborhood, I had a moment or two of worry because my brother was due at our house for the weekend, and I worried that he may have parked in front of the mailbox - when I saw her I said OH NO! The mail lady... I hope that Matt didn't park in front of the mailbox! Dean asked "Why" - I said "Because if he did - she won't deliver our mail." - Dean had kind of a puzzled look, and said "You're not still holding out hope for that paper (before we go to CA)." - I commented "Of course I am, today is our last shot before we leave!" (Mind you, on the way home from the grocery store Monday night I chanted I-171, I-171, I-171 all the way home!) I ran in the house, grabbed the mailbox key and went to check the mail - low and behold there was an envelope in the mailbox from Dept. of Homeland Security - however it was only addressed to Dean, so I reluctantly handed it over to him, upset that it must be a 'problem' with our prints or something, since it was only addressed to him. Dean read through it, and handed it to me - I read through it and didn't know what it was exactly. This looked like any everyday correspondence - white typewritten paper, nothing special - until I glanced at the VERY bottom left hand corner to which I saw - I-171H (in very tiny print)!
Our Immigration paper had arrived! I was sooooo excited - our last piece of paper was here, all we needed to send our paperwork is now complete!
Dean and I celebrated yesterday at Mikuni's in Roseville with Dean's cousin Greg - we had a nice lunch together and filled Greg in on our excitement!
Monday we visit with Lesley and Taz and we will give them all of our paperwork, book, and letter for potential birth mom's - and afterward we will meet up with Eryn and Nancy and their kids - we are excited to finally meet everyone. We will post more pictures when we get home.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

San Diego and Mail!

Dean and Jennifer

23 October 2008

Today Dean and I headed to San Diego to attend a wedding for some friends. The wedding ceremony was beautiful - it was aboard the Carnival Elation. When we received the invitation to the wedding, it also stated that everyone was welcome to join the couple and their families aboard the Elation for a 4-day Celebration cruise to Cabo San Lucas, however since we had JUST mailed in our application for China (this was before we even knew about Japan), we decided that we had better "opt out" and didn't book the cruise - after being on the cruise ship, I have to say that is something I would love to do in the future!

When we got home there were two envelopes in the mailbox! Our court paperwork was approved - this means that our Home Study has been approved by the court! YEAH! Today turned out to be a very exciting day!

Edited: Dean hated the photo I had, so I have replaced it with a different one :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Application/Biometrics/Baby Care Class

First - Yancha Bozu and Wrigley were feeling left out since they haven't been on our blog for those of you that don't know our fur babies - meet Yancha Bozu and Wrigley.

Now for our update from last week. Last Tuesday (14 October), Dean and I went to the courthouse and signed our Application to Adopt Baby Boy Doe/Baby Girl Doe, so we are officially on the court docket here in Yuma County! Deloris (secretary to the County Attorney) explained that this petition would be filed with the court and once it is granted we would receive a signed copy in the mail, then our Home Study would be logged and processed ~ she said that we should hear something back within a couple of weeks (according to Dean, I don’t remember what she said exactly).

Friday was our appointment for our “biometrics” for US CIS. Dean and I had our fingerprints taken here in Yuma, and I was pleasantly surprised that they do have technology here (just kidding!) – as they did our prints electronically. I am a little concerned since I believe one of my prints wasn’t clear, but hopefully I didn’t “see” everything correctly on the screen and it was fine. When they are doing your prints electronically there is a little green box that appears at the bottom of the screen and it says ---- pass, I imagine that means that the capture was clear, however on one of my fingers there was a little red box that appeared…..I questioned the person doing the prints, and she said that sometimes they “can’t” get it, but that it was okay. We will see, hopefully our US CIS doesn’t take very long and we will have our I-171 soon!

Last night was our Newborn Baby Care Class. Pretty funny – really not much applied to our situation as we’re not going to “nurse”, take care of newborn belly buttons, etc., but the class was entertaining, and we got our letter of completion so we can check that off our list.

I guess that sums up last week’s events. Now we wait for our Home Study to be certified by the court!

Until next time….

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tickets Booked!

Our tickets are booked - we leave for Sacramento Friday, November 7th - for our meeting with Taz and Lesley on Monday, November 10th at 10:00. I can't wait! Hopefully we will have a signed Home Study by the time we head to California, keep us in your prayers. I would LOVE to have our paperwork head to Japan in November!

Tomorrow we have an appointment at 4:00 at the courthouse to sign whatever this "application" is for our Home Study!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Throw me a bone....

An itsy bitsy teeny weenie bone....we got a letter in the mail from the Department of Homeland Security - YEAH - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (I-797C, Notice of Action) with an appointment for our fingerprints.

Our appointment time is next Friday (not the best day, since I have a workshop scheduled here at our house at 1:00), luckily our appointments are at 11:00 - I had hoped that we would go to Phoenix for our prints, but our appointment is here in Yuma.

Another note, Lesley e-mailed earlier this evening to say that Taz is back from Japan and they are going over her schedule and will let us know when to come to California for our meeting!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bluebirds bring Happy Things

Not much news.....

In Japan bluebirds are said to bring "happy things" to married couples. Dean's cousin in Japan that initially got all of the information about adopting in Japan sent us some chocolates with bluebirds and explained to us about the bluebirds bringing happy things (they're SO sweet, the cousins that is, the chocolates were delicious too!), so I asked a lady that makes these little clay fairies to make me one holding a bluebird to bring "happy things" to us during our wait! I think I need to surround my work area and home with bluebirds - LOL!

Well yesterday I finally called Oasis to find out the status on our Home Study. I talked with Catherine and she let me know that Ralph had received it back from Lesley last week, he implemented the changes that Lesley suggested, and YESTERDAY (October 6th) it was sent to the court for approval. Catherine explained that we would receive a phone call from the court here to come and fill out some 'application' (not sure what that is?), and then it would go to the judge for his review and approval. Then Oasis will get the original back signed from the court and they will mail it to (not real clear here but I think) ATWA (Lesley) for inclusion in our dossier, and another original will go to US CIS. So we really are in kind of a "wait pattern" here...which is ALL TOO FRUSTRATING, I want to know what is happening, and I want to know what to expect as to timeline. I had another sleepless night last night...too many things to think about, and even though I have no control over them, I feel like I should.

We are still waiting to hear from Lesley and Taz as to when we will head to Pleasant Hill, CA to meet with them. I was hoping for early November, as Taz mentioned that she would be available the first or second week in November since she has two trips planned for October already to "deliver" babies....when I talked to Lesley she said that Taz has two more babies in November, but Lesley didn't know if those babies were going to be "International adoptions" or if they would stay in Japan. Taz works for the agency that handles both, she's a very busy gal! So we are patiently (hahahaha!) waiting to hear when we will go.
We have our Baby Care Class scheduled for Monday, October 20th at the hospital here. That is a new requirement from Japan.

I did get my employment letter signed and notarized last week, so I can officially check that off my list. We just need Dean's to be signed and notarized and that one will be done too.

Don't forget to leave us a comment....there's a little "hyperlink" below our post. Until next time.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I-600A - check

On Wednesday I called the Adoption agency and chatted with Lesley about our I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) which goes to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (US CIS). I wanted to make sure that everything was filled out properly - otherwise they will send it back to us and I just don't want to play that game. So now our forms are all filled in - I went to Kinko's last night (after reading online on another adoptive parents blog that this "helps" speed them along because typically salmon paper = baby) to have our forms photocopied onto "salmon" paper. Yes it gets THAT picky! You just wouldn't believe?! So now our I-600A form is all filled out, I'm waiting for Dean sign it when he gets up, then I'm off to the bank to get a certified check and then off to the post office with copies of our birth certificates, marriage license, and all of the other necessary photocopies they require when submitting this. Our finalized Home Study will be sent separate, since we don't have it back yet.

Backtracking a little - earlier this week we got our next 'checklist' from Lesley at ATWA. Our note from her says:

Welcome to the Japan Program!

Hi Dean and Jennifer: Here's the next step and I'm so glad that you're with us. Cheers, Lesley

Now that your home study is well under way, on to the next step! (Attached was a list of documents that we have to supply to her.) When you submit any of these items, the next payment is also due.

Only really waiting on the home study so that we can send that off to US CIS and hope that they don't reject our paperwork. Once our paperwork is "approved" by US CIS, they will send us an appointment to have more fingerprints done, I think we have to go to Phoenix for that, but I'm not positive, the fingerprints have to be taken by one of their people, unlike the others, we just went to the Security office and had them do 3 sets of fingerprints - the luxury (?) of working for the Government. We have started our "Dear Birthmother" letter, but need to "fine tune" it with some particulars that Dean wants to include...gotta love my husband!

I don't think that I had mentioned previously - in the Japan program we aren't allowed to specify gender (or complexion ???), and we are required to choose two Japanese girl names, and two Japanese boy names. From these names that we have chosen, the birthmother will ultimately choose one name (depending on the sex of the baby) - which Dean and I will include in our baby's name. I have a list of about 10 girl names, and only a few boy names. I would like to use Dean's middle name (Masayuki) as one and his Dad's (Masao) as the other, but we will have to see what Dean wants, I guess he should be included - Just Kidding!!! LOL!

Well I think that I have covered all of our happenings this week.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Home Study Visit

My immediate worries are over. Last Saturday and Sunday we had our Home Study visit.

Our Adoption Social Worker Ralph arrived around 10:30 and we really had a nice visit. One question came up that Dean and I hadn't addressed - Guardianship if something were to happen to Me and Dean who would take care of our precious baby? Dean promptly suggested that his sister, Linda, and her husband, Mark, would fill that responsibility best. So I called and asked Mark (couldn't reach Linda, and Ralph needed to talk with them) and he said that they would do it!

Otherwise I think we had everything covered. Ralph asked a few questions about different pieces of our lives, childhood, etc. that we must have not addressed in our lengthy autiobiographies (8 pages each). Ralph will write up our report, send it to his boss, Catherine (Oasis Adoption Services), then they will send it to Lesley at Across the World Adoptions (ATWA) for her review before it is submitted to the Yuma Court for approval.

What comes next?

Well I know that we have to do some immigration paperwork. I am hoping to find out what exactly we need for that in this next week so we can have it ready once the Home Study is "signed" by the court - due to having to send a copy with this immigration stuff.

We have our book for our birthmother done - I'm hoping that comes back from the publisher within a week or two. We ordered a second copy so that the baby will have it when he/she gets older. We are trying to arrange our meeting with Lesley (ATWA) and Taz in Northern California the first week or so in November. We need to have our "Dear Birthmother" letter done to take with us for them to review.

Right now that is about all I know. Again thank you all for your prayers and support, I will post again when we know something new!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It begins

This blog is being created to help our family and friends keep up with the latest developments in our adoption journey. As we complete our paperwork we will update this site.

We thank you all for your support and encouragement in this exciting journey.