Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Another Update

Just a little update - Our home study was completed in late May, so we were able to submit our I800A to USCIS (US Citizenship & Immigration Services) in early June. This is the request for the US government to approve us as adoptive parents, and it included our home study along with some other documents. As part of the approval process, we both have to be fingerprinted at our local USCIS office, and we got that appointment notice in the mail early last week.

Our assigned appointment was for Thursday, July 3, but that date wasn’t at all convenient for us, so we took our chances and just walked in early yesterday morning to see if they could take us. (Rescheduling your assigned appointment is next to impossible.)  Thankfully, we didn’t have any problems and were in and out of the office in about 30 minutes. Now that our fingerprints are done, our I800A approval will hopefully arrive within a week or two.

Two weeks ago went sent off a stack of papers to be certified by our Secretary of State’s office, and we got those back last week. Once we get the I800A approval, we’ll get it notarized and then also sent to the state for certification. After that, all our dossier documents will go to the Chinese Consulate for authentication; hopefully we can send those off in about a month. Once we receive the authenticated documents, we just add in a few required photos, and our dossier is complete!

We will send it to CCAI offices in Colorado where it will receive one final review and then be sent on to China. CCCWA should review it and get it logged in within a week or two. So we’re hoping to be logged in by mid-August. Then the hard part – waiting for the phone to ring with news!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Things Are Different This Time

This adoption process has been so different from our first one. There are the obvious differences, of course – we live in a different state, we’re adopting from a different country and using a different agency, and we already have a child. But we’ve noticed that our attitudes are also different this time around. We’re much calmer and not at all anxious about the process – so far at least. Especially when we first started the process back in the fall, I could go days without even thinking about it. With our first adoption, we were ready for our child NOW and felt like time was just crawling by. We noted each month that passed and celebrated the fact that we were one month closer to our child. This time, we rarely even think about how long we’ve been in process. And when we do stop and think about where we are in the process and how long it might be until we first see and then meet our child, we’re shocked by how quickly time is flying.  It’s certainly a welcome change.

I’m definitely not expecting that we will remain this calm and unanxious throughout the entire process. Once our paperwork is in China, and especially once we’ve been matched with our child, I fully expect that adoption will consume all our waking thoughts (and many of our sleeping ones as well). We’ll be making travel lists, anxiously tracking our paperwork, looking at flight options, buying the gear we need for a second child, and rearranging Calvin’s room to make room for little brother. I’m actually looking forward to that craziness, but for now I’m happy to be enjoying “regular life” with our sweet Calvin while we (mostly patiently) wait for his little brother.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Home Study, Physicals, and Lab Work

We’ve now had both required meetings with our social worker. Our social worker is great – she is a therapist with many years of experience in adoptions and is even an adoptive parent herself. She’s very knowledgeable, and we enjoyed the time we spent with her.

Since this is our second time through this process, we’re more comfortable than we were the first time. We talked through our experiences with our first adoption and our expectations for this adoption. She shared some valuable insights with us – most of which we were already familiar with since we’ve been in the adoption world for nearly five years now. However, some of what she shared was definitely new for us and will be helpful as we continue to walk through this process.

We also recently had our physicals and required lab work done. The doctor ordered one of the tests incorrectly, so we had to go back for a second blood draw. Since the physicals and lab work have to be completed before the social worker can finalize our home study, the mistake cost us a little time, but it’s not a big deal. Once we receive the home study document, we’ll then submit that along with some other documents to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) for the first step of the immigration approval process. While that is in process, we’ll work on some of the other pieces of our dossier. Hoping to have all our paperwork in China by late summer!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Girl or boy?

Since announcing our plans to adopt, one of the questions we are asked most often is whether we know if we’ll be matched with a boy or a girl. The answer, which seems to surprise a lot of people, is a boy.

When people think of adoptions from China, they think of baby girls – and historically that was the case. Starting in the early to mid 1990s, thousands and thousands of baby girls in China were in need of families, due to China’s one-child policy and a cultural preference for boys. However, the China program has seen a major shift over the last few years. Now, there are both girls and boys of all ages (though mostly under 3 years) being referred in the China program, most with mild to moderate special needs. I’ll share more about special needs in a future post.

Each country and agency has its own rules about if/when families are allowed to request a particular gender. Some allow it only for families who don’t already have a child of the gender they are requesting, some allow anyone to request, and some don’t allow gender requests at all. With China and CCAI, anyone is allowed to request a specific gender.

For our family, we feel a boy is the best fit. We want Calvin to have a little brother to play with, and we already have tons of little boy clothes and toys. So requesting a boy just makes sense to us. On top of that, most families who are allowed to request gender will request a girl, so there’s a greater need for families to adopt boys. Given all this, the decision to adopt another boy was an easy one for us.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

After the paper chase

After we’re logged in to CCCWA’s system (hopefully in late summer), we’re hoping to be matched with a child fairly quickly – but we really don’t know how long it might take. As I said over and over with our first adoption – Adoption isn’t a predictable process; it’s full of unknowns. Really, though – that applies to everything in life.

Once we’re matched with a child, there are a bunch of other things that have to happen – most of which I’m not yet that familiar with. I know we submit a letter of intent (LOI) to the CCCWA, and then CCCWA sends us a letter of approval (LOA). We also have to submit another immigration form, this time to get approval from the US government for the specific child we’re going to adopt. There are clearly some other things that take place during this time, but like I said, I don’t really know yet what those are. I’ll learn them when the time comes. J

From the time of match until travel will be about six months. Once we receive travel approval (TA), we’ll travel within 2-3 weeks. (This seems SO LONG to us – with Calvin’s adoption, we were in Seoul less than 48 hours after receiving our travel call.)

All three of us will be going to China, and we’ll be there about two weeks. We will fly into a major city (Beijing or Shanghai most likely), probably spend a few days there, and then fly on to the province where our child lives - most likely Henan.

We will receive custody of our child a day or so after arriving in the province, then do the legal adoption the following day. We’ll spend a few more days in province in order to take care of some more paperwork/legal things.

We will then fly to Guangzhou, where we will deal with the US side of things at the Consulate there. The purpose of this is to get a US visa for our child’s Chinese passport. Once we have the visa, we will head home. Our child will be a US citizen as soon as the plane lands on US soil.