Dossier to China!

Our dossier is headed to China today!  It’s an exciting step.  The next milestone is our Log In Date, which is when China accepts our dossier and logs us into their official system.  Once we are logged in with China, we are able to look at a child’s file or receive a referral.  We do not anticipate receiving a referral soon, but it’s still an exciting step to be officially on the list!

For those of you unfamiliar with the process, here are the remaining steps, some insight into all of the crazy Chinese adoption acronyms, and a loosely estimated timeline:

-Log In Date (LID, about 1-2 weeks from now)

-Referral: which is when we are presented with the file of a child that our agency feels is a good match for us.  We take the referral to our pediatrician and an international adoption specialist MD to get their professional opinions about the child’s health and development.  (estimated 6-18 months from now)

-We accept our referral and send our Letter of Intent (LOI) and referral payment.  (For those that are curious, if we feel that a referral is not a good match for us, we are able to choose not to accept that referral, and that child’s file will go to another family.  That would be a heartbreaking decision to make, but there is comfort in knowing it’s an option and we would not be penalized.  The only reason we can foresee turning down a referral is if we decide, prayerfully and together with our social worker, that the child’s medical needs are more severe than we believe we are equipped to care for.)

-We wait for China to send our Letter of Approval (LOA, also called Referral Approval or RA), meaning they’ve approved us to adopt that child.  (This step is taking most families 2-3 months right now, but can be more than 100 days.)

-About 2 months after LOA/RA, we will receive a Travel Approval (TA), which means China has given us approval to come get her.  This is when our agency makes our appointment at the US embassy in Guangzhou and we start to book our travel, etc.  Families usually travel within a few weeks after getting their TA.

-We go to China!  We spend about a week in our daughter’s province: meeting her, getting her birth certificate and passport, etc.  Then we spend another week or so in Guangzhou, doing all kinds of paperwork, having her medical appointment, obtaining her visa to enter the US, etc.

-We come home!

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what’s in a dossier, part 2

Last year, I posted what was in our dossier for Ethiopia.  Since our China dossier is en route to our agency now (yay!), I thought I’d post what’s in this one, too.  Just in case anyone is curious.  I know I was before we started dossier building.

Here are my codes:
N – Notarized
SC – State Certified
EA – Chinese Embassy Authenticated

Application Letter (N, SC, & EA)
Birth Certificates (SC & EA)
Marriage License (SC & EA)
Employment Letter (N, SC, & EA)
Letter of Non-Employment (N, SC, & EA)
Financial Statement (N, SC, & EA)
Physical Exam Forms (N, SC, & EA)
Doctor Letter (N, SC, & EA)
Police Background Checks (N, SC, & EA)
Home Study (N, SC, & EA)
3 Letters of Reference (N, SC, & EA)
Notarized Copy of our I-797 Approval (N, SC, & EA)
Copies of our Passports
3 Family Photo Pages
2 passport sized photos for each of us

So, a few less documents than Ethiopia, but way more hoops to jump through for each document.  If you want more info about the Family Photo Pages, you can click here.  Like I said in the other post, if you’re about to start the adoption process, don’t start gathering documents yet.  Strange as it may sound, they do expire very quickly.

we got it! we got it!! we got it!!!

Who ever knew that a little envelope could cause a grown woman to jump up and down and scream and cry in the middle of the driveway?! Okay, maybe there are lots of reasons that could happen. But still.

I think we are going to be able to get it notarized tomorrow and state certified on Monday. Woo hoo!

#1 & #2

The two most beautiful things I’ve seen in quite a while:

1.  My beautiful sister-in-law as a bride.  I’ve watched her grow up since she was 11, and I’m so amazed by the woman that she is now.  Congrats, M & S!  We are so excited to watch you enter this new chapter of your lives as a family, and we’re so thankful to have you as our brother and sister.

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2.  These gorgeous Chinese stamps on the back of all of our documents* – nothing rejected!  Hallelujah!

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*We’re still waiting on our I800A.  My project for tonight is to get everything else totally ready, so when we get it, there’s no more delay. Trusting God’s timing feels a little easier today than it did last Wednesday.  Today, someone I am friends with on Facebook said in a prayer, “So when I can’t see Your hand I’m going to ask for the faith to trust Your heart.”  Isn’t that wise?  That’s my prayer right now.

rainy day

rainy day

We didn’t get that document. I’m pretty disappointed, but trying to be intentional about trusting God’s timing.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.
Psalm 27:14

praying @ the mail box

praying at the mail box

Can you pray with me? If we receive our I800A approval in the mail before this coming Wednesday, it could cut at least two weeks off of our time to send our dossier. Due to out-of-town family events and vacations, the timing could either work out just perfectly to send it to our agency on July 7, or just imperfectly for it to be much later than that. Obviously, I’m hoping for July 7th. Will you please pray with us that we get our approval in the mail by Wednesday? Our DTC and/or LID would be a wonderful 10th anniversary gift.

dossier photo pages

When we were waiting for the go-ahead to start dossier building the first time around, I remember searching like crazy on blogs to find out what pictures we’d need for our photo pages.  Different agencies and different countries have different requirements.  Here’s what our agency wanted for China (and for Ethiopia – just one minor difference between the two).

We had to have two posed photos of everyone in the family.  Everyone needs to be looking at the camera, and everyone (other than little bitties) needs to be smiling.  It doesn’t have to be a professional photo shoot, but does need to have a “posed” look to it.  These were the most stressful for me, and I’m not 100% thrilled with ours, but I know I’m pickier about my hair, my double chins, and the kids’ smiles than anyone else would be!  Here are the pics we are using for China:
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For China, we need 2 pictures that are a little more casual, and for Ethiopia, we needed 4 casual pics.  These need to include several members of the family, and need to be more relaxed and fun, hopefully doing something fun together as a family.  Here are the ones we’re using for China:
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Then we need a picture of the main living area of our home with the whole room in the frame, and a pic of the whole front of our home/yard.  Our agency specifies that no people be in either of these shots, but I know other agencies have slightly different requirements for this.  I’ve seen some with the family posed in front of the house, etc.  I took a picture of our living room right before our first home study visit, so it was probably the cleanest its been since we moved here!  We’ve moved a couple of pieces of furniture around, but it basically still looks like this:
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If anyone happens upon our blog looking for what kinds of pictures to start trying to take, I hope this helps!

consulate bound!

consulate bound!

We have all of our documents ready to send to the consulate, other than our I800 approval! We’re going to go ahead and send this batch now, just in case anything is rejected and has to be re-done. One document is already on its way to DC, and everything else is ready to go to Houston – exactly 100 pages. I just need to get a money order and get my tush to the UPS store. This feels like an exciting step!

Our USCIS fingerprint appointment is next week. Getting close to DTC (Dossier to China) and LID (Log In Date). Woo hoo!

God is good!

Three weeks ago, I wrote that two documents were making me crazy.  One of them has been mostly settled for a couple of weeks, and we’re just waiting to get that one correctly notarized.  The other one…has been an almost constant source of frustration for weeks!  In real time, several weeks may not seem like a very long time, but in the dossier-building world, it feels like a long time!  It’s hard not to think every day about how there’s a little girl sitting in an orphanage whose life may be literally on the line waiting for me to gather documents.  I know that train of thought isn’t particularly helpful, but that’s what pops into my head at 3 am!  Ultimately, I know God is sovereign over the timing of everything, and will make our path straight.

Anyway!  I have an update!  We’ve been waiting to send our documents to get state certified on this ONE piece of paper for weeks.  I started to pray specifically for a certain resolution that I believed to be incredibly unlikely – that one party involved would completely reverse its previous statement in regards to this document.  I’ve prayed this for several days, and today I got an email that that exact thing happened!  We can move forward again!  As soon as my husband and I can find a time to go get a document notarized together, we’ll have all of the papers we need to send for state certification and for our social worker to complete the update to our home study!

Hallelujah!  God is so good!