Response from USCIS

Well, it wasn’t the response we were hoping for, as we were expecting our approval letter any day.  Instead, we received a request for more information on our home study and some clarification about something from WAY in the past.  So we are working through that with our social worker and agency and hope to get the home study addendum and other documentation submitted to USCIS the week of December 6.  At this point, our registration with the SDA (adoption center in Ukraine) and dossier cannot be submitted until January, so I’m not sure how much this really slows us down.  But it was disappointing nonetheless. We just want to get over this hurdle and on to the next step.  Our prayer is for quick resolution of this issue and speedy approval from USCIS.

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First Snowfall!!

As anyone who’s known me for any length of time knows, I LOVE SNOW!!  The mere thought of it makes me giddy.  I love the anticipation brought on by a snowy forecast.  I love waking up to a snow-covered yard.  In fact, the snow beckons me to come out as I look at it through my window.   I love reduced visibility and snowflakes pelting me in the eye.  I love hearing the laughter and enjoyment of my kids playing in the snow.  I love building snow forts and sled runs.  I love a warm mug of hot chocolate after being out on a snowy day.  I even love driving in it!  I find it exhilarating to plow through the snow and I’m always sad when MN Dot sends out the salt trucks in full force to kill my beloved snow.   I was created for a cold weather climate!  I will have a great day today no matter what – nothing can kill my joy.  NOTHING!

Biometrics appointment

Today was a wonderful day!  Bruce met Olivia and I at the USCIS (Citizenship & Immigration Services office) in St. Paul shortly before our 11:00 appointment.  We were greeted by a very friendly, curteous officer who efficiently processed us through our appointment.  Our fingerprints were scanned in and we were on our way in no time.  We enjoyed having lunch together at Leeann Chin and then parted ways to go on with our day.

We also got new glasses ordered for Bruce which were badly needed as he’s been running around town with broken glasses for some time.  I just couldn’t bear the thought of sending my engineer out there with tape on his glasses – way too stereotypical!

Locked in New Mortgage Rate

With mortgage rates at near all-time lows, we decided to refinance our current mortgage, and pull out some cash to finish our basement.  Our current mortgage rate is 5.5%, which is very good, but we locked in a new rate of 4.25% today.  Finishing our basement will give us more family room space, which will be useful as our family grows, especially with the kids getting older, having friends over, etc.  We also plan to add a bedroom (bigger than Brian’s current room) for Brian and Ilya to share and a bathroom for the boys.  We had plenty of equity when we moved in 6 1/2 years ago, so we’ll see what the house appraises for in today’s economic conditions.  If it doesn’t appraise high enough to maintain at least 20% equity, we will forgo the cash-out and do a straight refinance. We’re not sure how finishing our basement will fit into our lives, but let’s take one step at a time!