Thursday, February 26, 2009

Issues with Adoption

There's has been so much happen with our adoption recently that I haven't updated you on, so I'm going to take a few minutes to do that.

I'll start with a little history to catch you back up where we left off. We filed a form with immigration on January 12, 2009 and were told, at that time, that it would take 90 days to get the approval on that form. HUGE disappointment because we were hoping to get it done in time to travel with some new friends. Much to our surprise, we received a call from our case manager on February 9th. Unfortunately, it was to tell me I hadn't sent payment and that he could not give our approval until payment had been logged into their system. So, I hurried to the post office and mailed our payment right away. In the meantime, I had to fax him a few other documents which I took care of immediately. The next day I called him back to request he go ahead and set up our fingerprint appointments so that we could be getting that done while he finished up. However, he informed us that the appointment is generated automatically by "their system" and that couldn't be done until the payment was logged in. AND our fingerprint appointment would be 2-3 weeks out from that point. UGH!! ANOTHER setback! We kept re-setting our sights each time we got information.

So, already, we've gone from:
  • referral December 29, 2008 and expectation of traveling 6-8 weeks after that to
  • we won't be approved until April 12th with travel dates SOMETIME after that to
  • we're alomst done as of February 9th back to
  • it'll be late February before you can even get fingerprints done

So, I decide to take matters into my own hands instead of sitting on those hands. I decided to go directly to the fingerprint office and just wait in line. So, I packed the baby, food, and toys in the car for the 45 minute drive. Well, I actually, unknowingly, drove to the immigration office where you HAVE to have an appointment to talk to ANYBODY for ANY reason. I was told, by the security guards there (after putting the baby in the stroller and packing it with documents and toys and food), that fingerprints were done at a different location anyway. So, I put the baby BACK in the car and drove 10 more minutes to the fingerprint place only to be told (after putting the baby in the stroller and packing it with documents and toys and food) that I needed to go BACK to the immigration office to get a letter that states my appintment time for fingerprints because you can't just wait in line. When I tell THAT guy that immigration just told me I couldn't talk to anybody there without an appointment, he told me to ask to speak to a supervisor and explain the time-sensitive-ness (Is that a word?) of my situation. So, I put the baby BACK in the car and drove 10 minutes BACK to the immigration office. By this time, Price keeps saying "Office? Office?" each time I put him in the car or get him out. Poor baby! I put the baby in the stroller and packed it with documents and toys and food and headed BACK into the immigration office (Office? Office?) and start crying while asking to speak to a super. They let me go through security (take baby out of stroller, scan bags with toys and food, walk through security gate, put baby back in stroller, reload arms of stroller with toys and food, you get the picture?) to talk to someone at the customer service desk. Office? Office? Still hearing it CONSTANTLY from Price. I cry some more and beg for someone to just give me a letter to get my fingerprints taken immediately. Long story short (Ha!Ha!), someone agreed to give me a letter. This was on Wednesday and she asked if I wanted an appointment Saturday. Uh, NO! I want one today! So, it's 11:10 and she schedules an appointment for Tom and I for 11:30. And Tom's at work, of course, because it's a Wednesday. Don't most employed men go to work on Wednesdays? So, I quickly wheel Price back outside and get to the car where my phone is (no phones allowed in the building, of course) and call Tom to tell him to get in the car RIGHT AWAY and come for fingerprints. I unpack the stroller, get Price in his seat and race the 10 minutes BACK to the fingerprint office. Load baby back in stroller with toys and food . Office? Office? Rush in and fill out paperwork. Tom arrives a few minutes late but they didn't seem to mind. We waltzed out 10 mins later with a very climactic event over.

It only took me a few minutes to call our case manager to let him know our fingerprints were done and that he could finish our approval. We were under the impression, from him, that the approval would be automatic after fingerprints were in the system. And the fingerprints should be in the system automatically because they were taken digitally. Well, not quite. It takes 48-72 house for the fingerprints to go through the FBI to immigration. Are you kidding me ?!?!?! So, 72 hours is technically Monday. Our friends already have their consulate appointment scheduled and we are trying to get one one the same day. If our approval isn't received until Monday, it will be 1 week after our friends requested their appointment and, apparently, for adoption appointments at the consulate, that's a long time. So it's not likely we'll even get the day we want. Disappointment again. But we hold out hoping we'll make it anyway.

We received our approval Monday and the president of our adoption agency faxed the request for a consulate appointment to China that day. China's already asleep (since it's 13 hours ahead there) so we know we'll have to wait. First thing the next morning I call our agency. No word. I'm told it will take 48-72 hours to receive confirmation. Pins and needles are hard to sit on for that long. Yesterday, I got a call. A horrible call. Another employee at our agency called to say our request for an appointment had been denied becasue we still need to fill out more paperwork. Poor lady! She got an earful...crying and yelling. It wasn't pretty. Our agency has been COMPLETELY, and I do mean COMPLETELY, negligent in taking care of us. So, now we wait again. I have filled out the forms that we need and am waiting on a FedEx package today from our agency with documents that need to be mailed with the additional forms. As soon as I receive it, I will fax everything to our immigration case manager (even though I don't know if he's supposed to handle this part for us as well) and FedEx the stuff to where it is supposed to go.

I'm sure you're tired of reading because I am WAY tired of typing. I'll quit for now and pick the story back up when there's more to tell. In the meantime, please pray for us. I know the Lord is taking care of our baby, but I want to be.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

$15 Gift Card at Babies R Us

Through March 4th, you will receive a $15 gift card with the purchase of any 3 of the following products:

  • Pampers Value Box of Diapers (92-252 ct.)

  • Pampers Value Box of Wipes (360-560 ct.)

  • Bounty Big Pack

  • Charmin Big Pack

  • Dreft 96 load

  • Tide 96 load

There are plenty of Babies R Us coupons out there that you can use in conjunction with manufacturers coupons to make this a sweet deal.

In addition, if you join their free Rewards R Us program, you'll earn $5 for every $150 you spend there. And, when you buy 9 boxes of value diapers, you get the 10th FREE...thats over a $40 value!

FREE Hillshire Farms Hearty Slices Lunchmeat

I went to Target to take advantage of the Hillshire Farms lunchmeat coupon for $0.55 off in the 2/22/09 Red Plum insert in conjunction with the $1.00 off Target coupon and was presently surprised to spot this offer.

In case you can't make out what it says: Purchase a pkg of Hillshire Farm Deli Select Hearty Slices Hardwood Smoked Turkey Breast Lunchmeat and receive a refund for the purchase price by submitting a 3x5 index card containing your name, address, city, state, zip code, and email address with 1 UPC symbol from the pkg and the original dated cash register receipt with the purchase price circled to:

Hillshire Farm Try Me Free Offer

P.o. Box 6154

Dept D

Douglas, AZ 85655-6154.

It has the usual restrictions (one refund per household or mailing adress, good on exact product only, no copies of UPC or receipt, etc.). It does NOT state that you have to mail in the peelie that ocntains this information so anyone who purchases this item should be free to take advantage of this offer.

Mystery Dining

You've heard of Mystery Shopping, but have you heard of Mystery Dining? Well I recently read a post (Sorry, I don't remember where.) about being a mystery diner at Longhorn Steakhouse. We'd only been there one other time and we were not impressed but, we're willing to try a lot of things if they're free.

I went to Focus on Service's website to apply. After receiving an email from Focus on Service welcoming me to their "club", I went to their website to choose from several different times, dates, and locations. I received an email from an employee confirming my visit. Then I looked at their survey online to know what things to pay attention to. So, this past Wednesday, we headed to dinner at Longhorn. Soon I'll be receiving a check for $40! Yippee!

I won't critique the restaurant here so that you can go without any preconceived notions, but if you want to give it a try yourself, go here to apply.

Gap Outlet Baby Sale

I recently blogged about a Baby sale at the Gap Outlet here. Well, you know I'm always looking out for you, so I decided to test the sale out myself. I know! I know! How kind of me to do research on your behalf. Anyway, my husband took our 2 big kids camping yesterday so I headed to the outlet on a recon job for you. Here's what I learned:
  • The sale is on clothes from newborns through 5T
  • The "Up to 40% off" should be paid attention to carefully. There were quite a few things on sale for only 20% off. I will say, though, that there were also a few items (a tad more winter-y) that were marked 50% off.

So, to sum things up, I did get a couple things. Ok, maybe a few. Alright, it was several. However, only 2 of the items were actually for our newest baby. I got a short sleeved t-shirt for our oldest for $3.99 and a long sleeved one for $5.99. I got a shirt for myself that was $11.99. And I got a long-sleeved onesie for $3.99 and a one piece outfit for $10.19 for the baby. The one piece outfit for the baby is a little out of my price range, but we have to take long sleeved 6-12 month clothing to China with us and it's been difficult to find. The shirt for $11.99 for me is also a little steeper than I try to go, but it's a white basic piece and needed for travel as well.

I may try to wait until closer to the end of the promotion and go back if I have to go into town on some other mission. Or often, once these promotions are over, they clearance out all of the sale items and you can get them cheap. I did end up with a coupon for 15% off my entire purchase if I complete a survey so that MAY make it worth a trip.

There you have it. Hope this is helpful.

Poll Post

Did you notice the poll on my page? Are you wondering what on Earth is up? Well, the poll will remain open through the end of this week. We could use your help as we take into account our options. Here's the story:

We received our referral to come to China to bring home our daughter on December 29, 2008. Since then, things have been a little complicated while we scurry to finish up paperwork. As if that wasn't enough, the person who has been planning, for the last 37 months, to watch our kids while we travel to China, has other plans during the window of time that we will probably travel. We have a 8 year old boy, a 7 year old girl, and a 2 year old "baby". We were arranging alternate childcare plans when our youngest had a seizure. He has had 3 of them previously. Our neurologist has said they are impact seizures...each has been a result of a VERY hard hit to his head. Here's the best way I know to explain what happens to him: since he has an extremely high tolerance for pain, his brain shuts his body down to deal with the pain since his body doesn't do it naturally. We worry about leaving him here under someone else's care. That's a huge responsibility to saddle somebody with! And, we don't like the idea of not being the ones to provide his care and comfort if it were to happen again. We do have medicine that we are able to administer rectally that quickly ends his seizure. He has another appointment tomorrow and will possibly be put on anti-seizure medication at that time. So, to my question for you guys who may have already had experience traveling in and perhaps receiving medical care in China or others who care to weigh in their opinion: Would you take your baby or not?

Whew! That was a lot! Thanks in advance for your time and advice. Please leave us a comment explaining your vote so we have information to help us think of all the angles.

Friday, February 20, 2009

$7.06 for Crocs, Shipping and Tax Included

I saw that Finish Line was having a MAJOR clearance on Crocs...$4.98 for kids and $9.98 for adults. So I hurried on over, at least as much as I can hurry on dial-up, and got 16 pairs for a grand total of $112.91. I ordered some on behalf of a couple friends and some for my kids to wear now and their next size as well. Any that don't fit or don't look like we wanted can be returned to a Finish Line store with no hassles. I am so excited! I resisted these shoes for a long time, but, living in Florida with children, means I had to come to terms with their function over form factor!

Go here for shopping! Also, follow your UPromise link to save an additonal 4% in your 529 College Savings Fund.

Thanks, Mercedes!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Adults & Kids FREE @ Medieval Times Show in Orlando

We have always wanted to go to this dinner show, but it's been too expensive. However, now our entire family could go for the price of 1 adult! If you purchase 1 full price Medieval Times Admission Ticket you will receive one free ticket of equal or lesser value. Children 12 & under are free. You have to mention the discount code AKF09 at the time of your purchase. There is a limit of 6 free admissions per reservation and this is not valid with group rates, special offers, or other discounts. So, if you are in the Orlando area and looking for expensive entertainment on the cheap, here it is! Visit this site or call 1-888-WE-JOUST (935-6878) for more information!

Baby Clothes Sale

February is traditionally a fantastic month for baby sales and it comes at the perfect time for our family since we are expecting a baby soon. I am a big, HUGE Gap fan. That usually means purchasing these items at consignment and Salvation Army, but once a year, I make sure to make a trip to the Gap Outlet for the baby sale.

New Promo at MyCokeRewards.com

From 2/23 - 2/27/09, you can earn 5 bonus points by registering a Diet Coke code together with a Minute Maid code.

At CVS this week, you can get $10 ECB when you buy $20 worth of Coke products. Maybe this is the perfect week to redeem some mycokerewards.com points for some Coke coupons, purchase a combination of Coke and Minute Maid products from CVS, and come back here next week to log in the codes. For more information about the mycokerewards reward program, click here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My favorite coupon

Since ebay so rarely runs money saving promotions, I am always thrilled to find out they are. Right now, you can receive an additional 8% off any purchase you make. Personally, I will be finding a gift certificate (Target probably) that our family can take advantage of, buy it at a discount, and then get this additional 8% discount. Then I can use the discounted gift card to purchase discounted items.
Also, if you go through UPromise when you purchase (not bid on) the gift card you choose, you will receive a contribution to your children's 529 College Savings Account.
But hurry, this coupon expires Feb 22nd.

Free Barrette Sample

Go here to sign up for a free sample of Goody Girls Barrettes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

BOGO Meal at TGI Fridays

My husband's employer received this offer from TGI Fridays and it specifically states that we are able to pass this offer along to our friends. So, if you would like this coupon, leave your email address in a comment on this post and I will gladly forward it to you. The coupon can be printed and used as many times as you like between now and March 1, 2009.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Free Breakfast at IKEA again

For a period of four days, from Friday, February 13, 2009 through Monday, February 16, 2009, many regional IKEA stores will again offer free breakfast to its customers. Click here to read the fine print.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sam's Single Day Pass

Normally, the "complimentary" pass for warehouse stores is not really a great deal because you still have to pay a non-member's surcharge. However, click here for a pass for a day of shopping at Sam's club for absolutely free (fee waived as well) courtesy of Allstate Insurance Company. We dropped our club membership over a year ago because we are able to get everything more cheaply that we need (and then some to share with others) by more closely watching sales at grocery stores and drugstores. LAtely, have you assessed whether or not your warehouse club membership actually saves you money?

RedBox code for free Movie Rental for today only

The code for today is 25CH63. As always, the code is only good for today. For the RedBox location nearest to you, click here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Contessa Seafood Meals printable coupon

These meals are often featured on a BOGO sale at Publix (my favorite grocery store). Go here to print a coupon for $2 off and it will make an inexpensive meal for your family. Hurry though, this offer is only available to the first 50, 000 subscribers. I often take advantage of these pre-packaged dinners on nights when I am going to go out with girlfriends. That way, I can make sure my family is fed without a lot of preparation time cutting into my primping time. :)

While at this website, you can also sign up for a free $10 coupon boook from Betty Crocker.

Del Monte vegetables coupon

Limit sodium without limiting taste! Try Del Monte 50% Less Salt Vegetables available in Sweet Peas, Kernel Corn, and Cut Green Beans. Log in here to receive your printable coupon.

20% off at Macy's through Sunday

I had the pleasure of serving as personal shopper to my sweet friend Jackie last night and we were pleasantly surprised, while shopping in Macy's, to find that we could get an additional 20% off all the items she purchased.

Since we didn't know about the promotion before heading to the mall, Jackie purchased a cute pin in the shape of a red dress for $2. Then, she was able to get 20% off a classy Tahari suit, sassy jean jacket, and two shirts with great detailing. In a separate transaction she was able to use it again to purchase a pair of great heels. She will be able to take advantage of the Go Red Promotion all through this weekend if she chooses to go back for more.

Here's the fun part, though (not that last night wasn't fun)...if you WEAR something red, you automatically get 20% off...no pin purchasing required. If you do have to or choose to purchase the pin, rest assured that Macy's will donate all Red Dress Pin proceeds to the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement.

Of course, exclusions apply. But this is also available online if you can't get to the mall.

Happy Bargain Shopping!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

BOGO Welch's AquaJuice Printable Coupon

Welch's AquaJuice is a great-tasting naturally lighter juice beverage for kids. An 8oz. glass of Welch's AquaJuice contains less sugar than leading kids' fruit drinks, has no high fructose corn syrup, no added sugar, no artificial sweeteners, only 80 calories, one full serving of fruit (1/2 cup), and is an excellent source of Vitamin C.
The product is available in 52oz. bottles in Fruit Punch, Strawberry Kiwi, Apple. Click
here for a BOGO coupon.

I assume this will be similar to the Roaring Water Capri Sun pouches that my kids love!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Free Fuel System Cleaner

Through February 11, you can get Chevron's 12 oz. Techron Fuel System Cleaner FREE after a Mail-In Rebate. This is a great promotion because two 12 oz Chevron Techron Fuel System Cleaners are allowed per household or address. So, two-car families can ensure that each car in your garage can get it's fuel system cleaned and be able to operate more efficiently. Offer limited to in-stock items only. Not valid with any other offer. For more infomation, click here.

Free Movies All Day

I wish I had the freedom to sit in the movie theater all day, but I don't. Maybe you do. So, if you do, AMC has a great promotion going on Saturday Feb 21st.

AMC is hosting an all day movie event. You can see all 5 Oscar Best Picture Nominees for $30 per person. If you are an AMC MovieWatcher it is $25 per person. It's free to enroll in the AMC MovieWatcher program and it includes a free unlimited large popcorn per person.

Here are the movies and show times (in case you are like me and have no idea what the nominees are):
On the day of the event, with the collectible pass, you can come and go as you please. Click here for more information or to find a participating AMC theater near you.

Thanks, Southern Savers!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Redbox Free Rental Today Only

Today's free rental code is D9P24G.

Also, Redbox, Colgate and Albertsons have teamed up to get you a free Redbox rental. Here are the details…
Purchase 2 tubes of Colgate Total or Colgate Max Fresh Toothpaste and receive a FREE one night rental from redbox.
*Offer good on 4.0 oz or larger only. Available at participating Albertson’s locations. Promo code will be printed on the bottom of the register receipt after qualifying purchase is made. Offer valid January 18, 2009 to February 8, 2009.