Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wee One Wednesday: The Update Continues...And A Glimpse At Our Remaining Timeline

Adoption is a whole lot of hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait. And right now, we are back in the waiting game. When I last wrote about the process, we had just submitted our Letter of Intent to adopt our little lady. So, that's where I'll continue the story of our process...

On Wednesday, May 10th, we submitted the LOI (letter of intent to adopt) for our girl. This is basically a letter we had to write directly to China, sharing why we wanted to adopt from their beautiful country and how we are equipped to care for our girl. That day, we also submitted our dossier transfer request to our original adoption agency, asking them to write a letter to China in support of our switching agencies in order to adopt our little lady. Both of these documents were received and logged in to the Chinese government on Thursday, May 11th. 

Then, we had to wait for China to approve the transfer of our dossier to our new agency. We were hoping this would come Friday, May 12th. It did not. We remained hopeful (albeit anxious) that we would get word that the dossier had been transferred on Monday, May 15th. It had not. Our (new) agency finally contacted China on Wednesday, May 18th, and learned that they wanted the original, hard copies (not the electronic versions) of these documents. They were mailed immediately, with hopes that they would arrive to China on Monday, May 22nd, and that our dossier would finally be switched over to our new agency (and thus, our girl locked in with us) on Tuesday, May 23rd. 

On Tuesday, May 23rd, it happened!!!!! Our dossier was transferred over to our new agency and we were officially locked in and matched with our girl!!!! Next up, the wait for China to send our LOA. This is a BIG DEAL. This is the biggest step of the process. We would be completing paperwork while we wait and crossing our fingers and toes that it would come quickly. We were told to estimate traveling to China approximately 10-12 weeks after we receive LOA; so, we were waiting with baited breath for it to arrive. 

Meanwhile, my kiddos (who STILL didn't know any of what is going on as far as us finding their sister and being matched with her!) had been talking about her non-stop. They didn't know her, hadn't seen her, didn't know we had found her, and yet...she was a constant topic of conversation every day. It's like they somehow knew that something was going on. Which is amazing. In fact, I took Raleigh on a Momma Date around that time and ALL she wanted to do was buy her sister a gift - she ended up choosing a purple JellyCat bunny, just like the JellyCat bunnies she, Banks, and Harrison already have. She wanted her sister to have one too. <3 

On Wednesday, May 24th, we got (soft, aka the electronic version of) LOA!!!!!!!!!!!! I was casually checking my email and saw that our caseworker had emailed us five minutes earlier. And there it was. "Hi Lindsay, We received the electronic copy of the Letter of Acceptance today and the original LOA should come to us within a few days!!" I burst into tears and immediately told my hub. And then our families. And then our closest friends. And then realized we could FINALLY share the news with our kiddos that night. They were absolutely OVERJOYED to finally get to see, and hear about, their new sister. <3

On Friday, May 26th, we got hard LOA (on this day, a hard copy of our LOA arrived to our agency)! Our agency immediately mailed us the remaining documents we were waiting for in order to submit our latest round of documents to Homeland Security. Because it was a holiday weekend (Happy Memorial Day!), the package was not expected to arrive to us until Tuesday, May 30th. Unfortunately, after anxiously waiting all day, it never showed and the tracking notification indicated that it was delayed. Siiiiiiigh. So, the wait continued. I have never checked the mail so much as I did the next day. 

FINALLY, at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, May 31st, the mail arrived and there it was - our hard LOA! I immediately gathered the rest of the necessary paperwork we had already completed, grabbed the LOA, and rushed to UPS, where I over-nighted the documents so they would arrive to Homeland Security the next morning. Specifically, (for those who are knowledgeable of all the China adoption steps and hoops and are following along), I mailed in all the required I800 paperwork, which arrived to Texas on Thursday, June 1st. 

Now, we wait (again!) to be approved by the Immigration Department of the good ol' US of A to specifically adopt our Bella.

So many have been asking when we expect to travel to China to bring Bella home. Everything is an estimate, as it all depends on how quickly various paperwork is processed and approved. I CAN tell you that we are completing everything on our end as fast as we possibly can, but we still have to wait for various levels of approval. Confused yet? Here is what we have left to do, as well as the estimated timelines for each, as predicted by our adoption agency:

Right now, we are waiting for our I800 to be approved by the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services). Our paperwork arrived to USCIS on Thursday, June 1st. It usually takes 2-3 weeks for approval (hence, our current wait). 

After we receive the I800 approval, we will receive a National Visa Center (NVC) letter. We need the information from this letter to complete the next step, which is completing the DS-260 (an online form). 

Once we have received our I800 approval and NVC and completed the DS-260, we will send them to our adoption agency, who will then submit what's called Article 5 to the US Chinese Consulate for approval. This approval typically takes 10 days. 

Once our Article 5 is approved, we will wait for Travel Approval (TA) to show up in the electronic system, which usually takes a few days. 

Once the hard copy of the Travel Approval arrives, we should be traveling to China 1 to 2 weeks later to bring Bella home!!!! 

Clay and I will travel alone to get Bella. We felt strongly about this, as we want to use the time there to focus on her and our attachment. We will be gone for about two weeks. Luckily, we are incredibly blessed to have two sets of grandparents who didn't hesitate when we asked them, back when this all began in 2016, if they could each come for a week to take care of Banks, Raleigh, and Harrison while we were away. 


If all goes well (all prayers appreciated!!!!!), I am hoping we'll be headed to China sometime in August to get our girl. Again, the timeline is NOT set in stone, but that is what we are hoping for! The sooner we get there, the sooner we can get her out of her orphanage and into our home, where she belongs. <3

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