Thursday, September 22, 2011

European Vacation

Finally posting pics from Europe
In France - Obviously, I shouldn't have to describe what is behind us!  It was amazing and beautiful to see!  Springtime is really a beautiful time to visit. 

On the grounds of the Louvre.  Everything was immaculate and well maintained.  I could spend days in Paris!  Especially if I knew any French :)

The entrance to the Louvre.  I thought it looked out of place being so modern while surrounded by so much history.

The most famous picture in the world and probably the most heavily guarded.  Did you know it is only 20x30 inches?  I read an interesting book on the history and 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa.  Now the painting is behind 6 inches of bulletproof glass and roped off so that you can't get closer than 6-7 feet away.

Bayeux Cathedral in Bayeux France

Cathedral interiors

The American cemetary in Normandy, France

I can't really describe the feelings and emotions I had while walking around the cemetary.  It is immaculate and serene and respectful.

On to London...
Aaron in front of Big Ben - which is actually the name of one of the bells in the tower and not the actual tower.

Yes, we had a few pints while we were there.  This is a famous bar called The Albert.

Tower of London

Tower Bridge

Westminster Abbey - we were there 3 weeks before the big wedding so there was a flurry of activity here and at Buckingham Palace

Aaron in a famous red phone booth.  One thing we noticed here, France and in Wales is that people don't walk around with cell phones stuck to their ears.  Maybe they are a little more civilized??  I can't remember the last time I saw a phone booth on the street.

Aaron with a Chelsea Pensioner.  We met him outside The Albert and found out that he served in WWII.  It is very prestigious to be a Chelsea Pensioner.  One must be a veteran and asked by the government.  You would be provided with housing and medical for as long as you lived.  He is 91 years young.

Westminster Cathedral - Catholic Church we attended on Saturday.  It was built in the early 1900's.  Cardinal Basil Hume is buried here.

Buckingham Palace

On the Welsh coastline

Sheep roam freely in Wales so watch where you step!

Wales has over 1,000 old castles.  Most are in some sort of disrepair.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's really going to happen!

Today we turned in our final paperwork and it's ready to send to Hungary!  I can't believe it - it's really going to happen!  We don't know an exact timeline and were told to prepare to wait up to 6 months.  I hope it is much faster than that. 

One of the first questions people ask is, "Why Hungary?"
1.  Hungary is one of the few countries that sends pictures, video and medical documents with the referral.  Some countries choose the child for you.  In some countries, you must travel there before choosing and you have a very short amount of time to decide (30 min - 1 hr).  Hungary will give us up to 2 weeks to decide.  We will be able to prepare some things in our home before we leave.
2.  The wait time is relatively short.  Some countries have a 2-4 year waitlist.  Hungary is about 1 year and maybe shorter for an older child (over 5 years old).
3.  Hungary is a relatively modern (Western) country with a stable government.  Government instability can cause the adoption process to be very inconsistent.
4.  After 2 weeks, we will have custody of the child and be able to begin the bonding process right away.  Some countries only allow you to see the child for a couple hours a day until the adoption is final.
5.  Many of the children are in foster homes vs. orphanages.  Both are strictly monitored and regulated by the government.  The transition can be easier for those foster homes because they are already familiar with a family environment.

Here is a timeline of our international adoption process:
12/15/10 - First meeting with Little Miracles (LMI) in Amarillo
2/4/11 - Application accepted by LMI
3/1/11 - Adoption Contract accepted by LMI, begin paperwork
4/25 & 27/11 - Home study interviews
6/28/11 - application submitted to USCIS
8/29/11 - approval from USCIS
9/8/11 - Dossier complete and ready for submission to Hungary

I will continue to update the blog about our progress.