I have had a few people ask where we are with the adoption. We just sent in our supplement 3 for our I800A last week and it was confirmed USCIS received it on Monday. What that means is when you adopt, you have to have approval to bring an orphan into the USA (that's the I800A approval). With Finley, we had an I800A approval and that is good for 18 months. So, since we are still within the 18 months (it expires November 24, 2011-- cutting it close) we don't have to submit a bunch of additional paperwork and wait the 2 months plus for the full approval rather we just have to submit and new document that says we want to add an additional child to the original approval and then they approve it and send the new approval out to us. We expect the approval in about 3 weeks and then as soon as we get the approval back, it will be about 1 week to get a bunch of paperwork for our dossier (a bunch of papers that go to China) authenticated and sealed at the Chinese Embassy and then we are DTC-- DOSSIER TO CHINA!!!! Realistically, we are about 1 month from sending out paperwork to China and that is a HUGE step!! Once our paperwork goes to China we will be logged in (LID) and then and then we wait and wait and wait. Our goal is to be in China in May, so it appears we are probably in line to be at about that time frame.
That is the timeline update and once paperwork is in China we will be able to show pictures and do all that stuff but until then, I have to keep things quiet.
On other notes, we are still working the Dave Ramsey budget really well. Even in the process of desperately trying to get money together for this adoption, we are still finding money to be able to pay things off. We are moving down our DEBT LIST that is posted on our refrigerator really fast-- way faster than we thought. Of course, we have some major adoption payments coming up so we might have to slow down on paying things off for a few months, but as soon as we pay our agency fees, we are back paying debt off. We actually only have a few things left to pay (bigger $$ items) before we are out of debt except for my student loan and our house. I cant believe how close we are and our goal of debt free except for the house in 2 years is totally going to happen-- I have faith!! Don't get me wrong, we still struggle but for the first time in our lives we are living below our means. It is not easy. I don't shop-- at all! I have not bought the kids anything new in many months with the exception of one birthday gifts for the girls. I have not bought myself ANYTHING in months and I am living on a tiny budget with literally no wiggle room. We don't eat out unless it is Wednesday nights (church) and we use a restaurant.com certificate and a few little .99cent things here and there. We are crazy dedicated but it is serving us well. We have been able to save and pay things off and we are actually able to pay for our adoption expenses. Again, it is not easy, but we are doing it and I am loving the freedom I feel knowing this area of our life is in control-- literally for the first time in our lives. I don't mention this to say we are so great. I say it to inspire other that control of your finances CAN BE DONE!! We are proof of it and we were HORRIBLE before this program. If we wanted it, we got it and didn't really understand the idea of delayed gratification. We started to change things about 2 years ago but still did not live within a budget over the last 2 years. While we did not incur more debt over the last 2 years we still did not manage our money well and we are now digging out of the hole we created. I am so proud of ourselves!!! Plus I mention all this because I do get people asking about how we are doing with Dave's program so I figured it was time for an update.
Owen giving the girls hockey lessons. Finley taking a slapshot. Sorry the quality is poor. It was with my cell phone.
Mia taking her slapshot
Other than that, we are living life. We are trying to slow things down during this time of year and to focus on the reason for the season. We are going to try to implement some low cost traditions this year so if anyone has any suggestions, we would love them!!! I am looking forward to this holiday season so very much and cant wait to bake cookies and bundle up in front of the fireplace (ya right-- not too cold here in So Cal) and watch Christmas specials. My friend Kim at 3Peanuts wrote a great post yesterday about slowing down and de-stressing the holidays. I read the post out loud to my husband and we both agreed we wanted to de-stress our holidays and we are going to talk about ways we can do that soon. I encourage others to de-stress as well and slowing down and paying attention to the reason we celebrate Christmas.