Thursday, December 30, 2010

december 30, 2010

wow!  tomorrow is new year's eve day!  sooooooooo glad this year is over.

not glad for the rapid passing of time, for aging, for my children growing up so fast before my eyes, for the days and weeks and months we are losing with ben.  but, glad for the nearing day that ben will be home with us, with people who love him, with siblings - real siblings, not just bunches of children with whom he has to compete for food, clothes, toys and love and attention, physical contact and having his needs met.  glad for the year to be over so to put that horrible winter further behind us, jim's job will become permanent in feb, our unpaid taxes will be paid, and most importantly, we will be on our way to china sometime in 2011, to hold our son and our childrens' brother, bring him home, where he belongs and complete our family.

i have to offer a short word of thanks to all the friends and family who are supporting us unconditionally during this endeavor, what has become the most challenging of all four of our adoptions.  i can not even begin to express the gratitude we feel in our hearts for your unwavering, steadfast love and support.  thank you.  it is not enough, but it is all we have.  thank you.

on the dossier compilation front, our dedicated and marvelous courier has challenged the gaping maw, the grinding teeth of that most terrifying place, The US Department of State's Office of Authentications, and emerged triumphant with our dossier documents!!  snatched from the Fiery Breath of Indifference, Carol Fredericks of Dependable Adoption Courier Services (Dependable ACS: challenged those government zombies in their devastatingly gray and boring cubicles of ennui and saved the day!!  after lying around for 18 days, our documents were revived and swept off to the embassy of china today.  they will be completed and packaged, mailed back to us for review next week, by week's end, and then off to our agency to await that final document from USCIS:  the magical and most coveted I-797C!!!!
(formerly known as: I-171H.  remember THAT document!  HA!  defeated by HAGUE!  and replaced with the creeping, eye-stabbing, feet-dragging horror that is the two-month-long-extending process of filing first the I-800A: Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, followed by the I-800: Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, which, finally, if you haven't become a dessicated, dehydrated shell of a human, leads to the Much Coveted and Completely Necessary for Travel to China to get your now 14 year old Child: The I-797C, Notice of Action.  yipee.)

stay tuned, stay hydrated, stay awake.  i'll post when the dossier goes off to ccai in colorado to sit on it's ass for two months and await the precious document...

and stay away from zombies.  you've got red on you.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

december 28, 2010

the new year is coming and i can not wait.  it has to be better than this last one.  it's been great to have the kids home this week.  i will miss them when they go back to school the first week of jan.  they need the structure, though and i think they are more ready than i am.  :)

our documents are at the lockbox and we are in the month long wait now.  my courier is going to retrieve our dossier from the dept of state, who can't seem to get their shit together and authenticate in a timely fashion.  those docs will be at the chinese embassy by tomorrow afternoon and will be back in our hands early next week.  deep sigh of relief.  :)

still a bit to go before we send off the whole thing to ccai for critical review, but we are really getting close, now.  i will be glad to have this part over.  building a dossier is never fun or uncomplicated.  waiting to get the homestudy back from VA Dept of Commonwealth.  once that is back, take it and jim's birth certificate and send them to dept of state (through the courier, this time.  much quicker) and on to chinese embassy for those afterward.  take all 12 docs and send them on to our agency, pay the second agency fee and then wait for our i-797c to come sometime in february.  take that (when it finally arrives) and notarize, certify, authenticate, authenticate and off to agency and FINALLY they will send our dossier off to china.  we are hoping that will be the end of feb and not later...  but, who knows!  the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly when there's a profit to be made!  anyway...  we'll get there, eventually.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

december 25, 2010

a very happy xmas to you all.  it's 10 pm in china.  ben's day is done and he is probably in bed by now.  i suspect today was just another day in the life in a social welfare institution for him.  but, this will be his last year where the days bleed endlessly into one another with little change, little spontaneity...  he will be home next year for the winter holidays!!!

can't wait to meet you, ben!!!!  that will be our greatest gift of all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


we have opened a fair trade coffee store with the help of Just Love Coffee Roasters, LLC!!!  a percentage of sales for every bag sold will come directly to us every month to assist us in our fund raising goal.

if you'd like to purchase a bag (or several!), go here:  Coffee For Ben and use our online store or contact us directly at and let us know the size of your order and we will do the ordering for you!

i've posted a permanent link on this blog (over there, on the right) and one on our private blog, too for convenience of ordering.  if you find that you really like our coffee, you can place a regular reoccurring order with us to be delivered to you at the same time every week or month (depending on your coffee consumption needs!).

thanks so much for all your support!!!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

december 22, 2010

OUR HOME STUDY IS OFF TO U.S.C.I.S.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and if you've ever adopted internationally, you know how exciting that is!!! and how expensive. :) we are so grateful to the friends and strangers who helped us raise the $890.00 we needed for fingerprinting. we sold a bunch of stuff out of our house and had some very amazing friends send us xmas cards full of money. what a tremendous thing to do, especially at this time of year when everyone is working so hard just to buy gifts for their own family members. we are truly appreciative and grateful. thank you.

i've asked for an update, but none is forthcoming at this time. not actually a surprise, many swi's don't send updates very often or at all. we are really lucky to have the info and photos we currently have. but, if something else comes along, we will definitely post it here!!

very happy holidays to you all!!!!!! hope you all had a great solstice!!!!!

ralph and jim and kids

Saturday, December 18, 2010

december 18, 2010

i look at his amazing gazing face and just want to cry. we can not get the paperwork done fast enough, it seems. and even though we are not running around like crazy people (like we did with grant's adoption!!), and even though things are going AMAZINGLY well, smooth and trouble free, and even though my AMAZING home study agency (forever families adoption services in warrenton, va) has ALREADY done our home study and sent it to our adoption agency (ccai in colorado) - it still seems like forever will arrive before ning yuan will...

if there is anyone who wants to donate a product or service for us to sell, that would be a great help. please contact me privately at if you have something you would like to donate to us to sell. and thank you, in advance. :)

we have to pay taxes in january (during his time with lockheed martin, no taxes were taken) and then file in feb and pay what ever else we owe, of course. and solstice and xmas are here (solstice is dec 22!!! we have our celebration tomorrow!!) and there are expenses that go with those holidays... and very soon, our dossier will go to china. we should have most of our documents back by the end of dec. two more docs to certify and authenticate and then off to ccai for approval/translation and then to china... more fees with all that... fingerprinting for uscis (immigration) is out of this world now, too.

so much has changed since our last journey down this process...

it will all come together, i'm sure. eventually. we have a credit card standing by for most of it. i think we can get a loan from the bank for another bit of it. i'm trying to find work, but can't afford the daycare for the kids through the holidays, so will wait until jan to get back into the job hunt, when the kids go back to school...

just whining. just thinking aloud...

Friday, December 10, 2010

december 10, 2010

this is ben's orphanage.

they are wrapped in blankets, sleeping on plywood.

this is the kitchen.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

december 7, 2010

look! more junk from inside my house! don't you wish you lived nearby?!?! SHOP, PEOPLE, SHOP!!!! remember, tis the season. :)

it's just what you've always wanted! a door stop in the shape of an ancient packard bell desk top computer!!!! and, believe it or not, it still works. :) make me an offer. seriously. not kidding.

nice used luggage. went to hong kong, mainland china and japan and back, twice. :) $10.00 in very good shape. just a crappy photo. has wheels and handle. i have no idea how to set the combination, so you might not want to use that part... :)

two antique painted toddler bed head/foot boards. i have the frames of these beds, too, but they are in poor shape. they are included in the sale of the head/foot boards, if you want them. foot board for white bed shown here. would like $50.00 per pair. paid much larger sum for them originally at antique shop in middleburg. both beds are from sweden.

head board of blue toddler bed.

accompanying foot board. i don't know how old these beds are.

monster desk! weighs a million pounds! top measures 6' x 3'! (i know. i used to sleep on it back in the 'good old days' when i was single, childless and poor! :)

would like $50.00. will take less. it's old, but very sturdy. makes a terrific sewing table! has two drawers plus one file drawer. metal legs, some rust. come and get it!!!! and bring twelve strong friends to move it, 'cause i ain't lifting that sucker ever again.

wedgwood cut full lead crystal decanter set! just what you've always wanted! worth $250.00. we've had it for 18 years - it was a wedding present. never been used. i'll take $125.00. a perfect xmas gift!!!

leather saddle bags - $50.00 came off of my bike. i sold the bike in 2005 to help finance hayden's adoption! :) won't need these any more! great condition.

sony surround sound system. includeds subwoofer with speakers (see next photo). have 5 speakers total. $30.00

two of the 5 speakers and wiring.

haier window a/c unit - never been taken out of box! 5000 btus, great for small bedroom or office! will cool a 100 - 150 sq foot room easily. would like $50.00 - half of what we paid. :(

Monday, December 6, 2010

december 6, 2010

needing to spend some money??? wanting to buy something??? like to pay lots of shipping charges??? boy, have i got a deal for YOU!!! :)

we are selling many things out of our house:

couch with a bit of cat damage: $60.00

comfy chair: $35.00

and much much more! will post more tomorrow!! stay tuned!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

december 3, 2010

what a lovely xmas card i received two days ago from some local friends!!! and a tremendous gift inside to help us bring our little boy home!!! such extreme generosity - and know that we are grateful and are deeply appreciative.

a very happy holiday season to you all!!!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

december 2, 2010

THE HOME STUDY IS FINISHED! very soon, it will go to our agency (ccai) for critical review. when we have the rest of our documents certified and authenticated, it will all go to the agency to be translated and sent to china! we hope to have that step completed by the end of december and be DTC (dossier to china) before the new year or just after!


i'm getting some great fund raising ideas and will post them as soon as possible. we hope to hold a bunch of online raffles so if there is anyone out there who would like to donate objects or crafts to be raffled off, please contact me at thank you very very much, in advance!

and thanks for coming along on this journey!!!!!

jim and ralph and kids

Sunday, November 28, 2010

november 28, 2010

i made $120.00 this weekend by selling off stuff from inside our house! making room and raising money for ben!

i've got to put up one of those chip-ins, but i'm afraid to. if i put it in and the total never rises... what a colossal failure that would be! hahahaha!!

thought about "monetizing" this blog, too. asking people to click on the adverts... but google really wants a lot of info and permission to exploit both blogs... i just can't bring myself to do it.

applied for about 50 jobs over the summer, but no luck. applied for two jobs today and two last week. i feel confident that something will open up eventually.

wish i had more photos of ning yuan to post...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

meet benjamin

we have started this public blog in an attempt to raise a bit of cash to help defray some of the costs of our fourth and final adoption. our son, Ning Yuan, soon to be Benjamin, is waiting for us in china.

this will also be our travel blog so friends and family can follow along with us when we go and meet our fabulous little boy!!

we have requested an updated photo and information, but some orphanages are not forthcoming and so far there has been no response.

we are not quite sure what english-type name we will give to ning yuan once he is home, but for now we are calling him benjamin agosto ning yuan bush-resko. :) his name is bigger than he is.

i am thinking about adding a "chip in" gadget to this site. we are also selling just about everything in the house to try to raise a bit of cash to pay the remaining adoption expenses. life is challenging enough without having to live in an orphanage, live without a family, live without emotional support and love.

well, we are that family and he is our son. we might not have packs of cash lying around, but we can meet our daily living expenses without trouble, our children (who are home) are healthy, loved, well cared for, well fed, clothed and educated. these expenses will not stop us.

we are going to be bringing benjamin home. come hell or high water, he is coming home. thanks for following along.