Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Have you heard anything yet?"

This post is for all of you folks who keep asking me if we've heard any new news about the adoption.  I wish there was something to "hear", but there isn't, at least not yet.  Check back in at the end of the month and hopefully we'll have an update to share!  For now, we hope and pray that the women who work at the place where our son lives are loving on him and taking good care of him.    In spite of being many months into the process, we are still really at the beginning of our adoption timeline.  We're almost done our homestudy  and I've been busy getting documents notarized and authenticated (at the county, state and US State Department level!) so that they can all go to the Chinese consulate.  Hopefully the graphic below will give you some idea of what comes after our homestudy and help you imagine the hoops we're busy jumping through.  We're almost ready to send all our paperwork off to immigration (step4)!


The Process



The Process of a Hague Adoption



China and the US have both ratified the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and although it means a lot of paperwork for us and a long wait, it's actually a good thing!  You can read more about what it means here.  To make a long story short, it means that kids have as much protection as possible when being placed for adoption.  It reinforces the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and "seeks to ensure that intercountry adoptions are made in the best interests of the child and with respect for his or her fundamental rights, and to prevent the abduction, the sale of, or traffic in children." (see website linked above)

So, on to the paperwork....It's a real alphabet soup as you'll see if you keep reading.  There are acronyms for almost every step!  Following all the steps can be confusing, so I've tried to keep it as basic as possible while still explaining enough that it makes sense.  Hopefully I haven't made it more confusing by oversimplifying!  Here's what it means for us.

We selected an agency and started our homestudy.  This is the part where we get matched with a child (Pre-Approval or PA) and then submit all the details and documents to prove that we are who we say we are and promise to love and cherish our child forever.  We also have to compile a dossier, a paper trail of our life which will be included with the completed homestudy.

The dossier has to be notarized, certified by the county and state and then authenicated at the  US State Department and Chinese consulate.  After that step, our dossier will go with some more forms to US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and then we get fingerprinted.  Once we're approved, the whole shebang goes to China and we're DTC (Dossier To China).  We get an official DTC date when the CCAA (Central Chinese Adoption Authority) acknowledges that they've received our dossier.  Now we can take a deep breath!  It's mostly out of our hands at this point as we wait.

After a few weeks, we'll be notified that we have a Log In Date (LID) with the CCAA.  At this point they are ready to start processing our paperwork.  Then one to five months later, we'll get a Letter of Acceptance (LOA).  Now, we file some more forms so that our new son will officially be a member of our family (according to USCIS).  After our petition is accepted by USCIS, we will apply to the National Visa Center and send our approval to the US Consulate. Once the consulate has the letter, they will issue our Article 5, which means that our son is pre-approved for a US visa.  That documentation is then taken to the CCAA and they will send our agency Travel Approval (TA) and we'll get a date for an appointment at the US Consulate in China.  After TA we can travel to get our son!

This sure is a tedious process, and I'm glad that we got PA at the beginning of it and know who our son is already.  That definitely helps when the whole thing seems overwhelming.  We can just look at a picture of his sweet, mischevious face and know that it will be worth it!  Hopefully our TA will come some time in the late spring or early summer so that we can travel while Mr. Incredible is on summer vacation and we won't have to take the boys out of school.  



Welcome



Hello and thanks for following along!  We're a family of four, soon to be five.  Mr. Incredible and I have two boys born to us who we'll call Smushy and Little Bear, and a third son who is waiting for us in China. We're starting to get more excited as the reality of having three kids sinks in... and along with that excitement, there is the normal nervousness of  adding another family member and unbalancing things for a while.



So far, we've only told a few folks- mostly close friends and family...and already there are a lot of questions!  Some questions I expected, some I didn't.  Hopefully as I blog through this adventure, I'll find the time to answer most of these.  If there's something you're curious about or have a question about, make sure to send me a message and let me know!