9.23.2014

Where Things Stand

After reading about our Unexpected Surprise and learning why we are adopting again, I want to catch you up on where we are in this process. Below you will see a list of dates and the milestones we have met so far, as well as the milestones to come. Just eight days after learning that a sweet one's file was being prepared in China, we made the decision to officially start the adoption process. The next night, July 7th, we submitted our application to Lifeline Children Services.

When adopting from China for a second time, you have the option to reuse your previous dossier - pronounced doss-ee-ay (the official paperwork that is sent to China during your first adoption) or to create a completely new dossier. Reusing your dossier can save some time at the beginning of the process, and you can be approved to adopt a child who is designated as Special Focus. These are children that are typically older and/or have more significant medical needs. Starting over with a brand new dossier gives you the flexibility to adopt a child designated as either Special Focus or Special Needs. Children designated as Special Needs may have less significant medical issues and/or be a younger child. We wanted the flexibility to adopt a child with either designation, so after talking with our contacts at both Lifeline and MLJ, we decided to prepare a completely new dossier.

Our next big step was starting the Home Study process with MLJ Adoptions on July 9th. We were very relieved to learn that we could apply our education hours from Tucker's adoption to this current adoption, as this saved us precious time. We will complete some new education requirements throughout this process, but they take place after the home study piece. Because I had put together our required documentation in a binder once before, the process this time was much faster. I made the appointment for our state background check the same day that I submitted our application, as I knew the processing of those fingerprints can take some time. I was helping friends throw a baby shower on July 12th and had to sneak out at the end to secretly get our fingerprints taken. Thanks for understanding, Kerri!!

For the next two and a half weeks, I worked on gathering the rest of our required documentation including every financial record you can imagine down to how much you spend monthly for groceries, entertainment, clothing, electricity, etc. It pays to be organized in an adoption process! Ryan and I also had to get physicals and blood work completed. The kids had physicals and even the vet had to sign off on Kya. Everything was organized in a binder with each document in plastic page protectors. Ryan submitted our completed binder on July 28th, just in time for our first home study visit with our social worker that afternoon.

The meeting with Angela, our social worker, went really well! She completed our previous home study and has visited with us on two other occasions for Tucker's Post Adoption reports. China requires an update on how the children are adjusting at 1 month, 6 months, 12 months, 2 years, 3 years, and 5 years. Seeing her again for the first visit and again on August 5th was fun! Angela asked us a million questions. I find it so interesting to hear Ryan's responses to questions, but it's even more fun to hear Noah, Liam, and Tucker answer their questions.

After much work on her part, Angela finished our home study report and submitted it to Lifeline to go through their Hague Review process. China adoptions operate under the Hague Convention, so all home study reports must be approved by a Hague Accredited Agency. Lifeline has that accreditation. We were ELATED to learn that our home study had been finalized and approved on August 21st, just 6 1/2 weeks after making the decision to adopt again. Two weeks later, our application to immigration was submitted to be approved to adopt a child from a Hague country and then bring that child into the US.

Last time we adopted, it took us 19 1/2 weeks to get to the same point we reached in 8 1/2 weeks this time around. YAY!! We have continued to celebrate this fact and thank all of the professionals who worked hard alongside us to reach this milestone so quickly. Praise God this first HUGE chunk is behind us.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received our application on September 5th, and we received their notification of such on September 13th. Yesterday, September 22nd, we received our fingerprint appointment date and time. The Department of Homeland Security will complete an additional background check after they take our fingerprints. Then we will await our immigration approval.

Many of you might remember that our fingerprint approval was on January 23, 2013 last time, and that was the day we were presented with Tucker's file. It was the day we saw our son's face for the first time. I am so thankful to be at this point in our process right now, and I cannot wait to find out who our fourth child will be. We have many, many steps to go, but one-by-one, we are getting closer and closer to meeting our new child.

06/30/14 - Found our that a precious child's file was being prepared
07/06/14 - Made the decision to adopt again
07/07/14 - Submitted application to Lifeline Children Services
07/09/14 - Initiated our Home Study process with MLJ Adoptions
07/28/14 - Submitted binder to MLJ with Home Study requirements

07/28/14 - First Home Study Visit Completed
08/05/14 - Second Home Study Visit Completed
08/21/14 - Finalized Home Study Report completed
09/04/14 - Immigration Application mailed to USCIS
09/05/14 - USCIS received our Immigration application
09/13/14 - Received Letter of Receipt from Immigration

09/22/14 - Fingerprint appointment date and time received
               - Fingerprint appointment at USCIS
               - I-797 Approval - Allows us to bring a child into the US
               - State Authentications
               - Chinese Consulate Authentication
               - Dossier to China (DTC)
               - Log In Date (LID)
               - Out of Translation (OOT)
               - Dossier Reviewed

               - Dossier Match Reviewed
               - Letter of Acceptance (LOA)
               - I-800 Approval (Immigration Application for our son)
               - National Visa Center - GUZ # PDF
               - Article 5 Drop Off
               - Article 5 Pick Up
               - Travel Approval (TA)
               - Depart for China
               - Meet our child!

               - Adoption Finalized
               - Consulate Appointment

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