March 05, 2006

But, how long will it take???

That is the question that is on everyone's minds these days....especially ours!! Here is a crash course in how the adoption will work.

We are almost finished with the first part of the process. This has included the homestudy process, fingerprinting, getting clearance letters from the police, physicals for both of us, letters from employer, DCFS abuse clearance, financial statements, etc. The I-600A was a form that we had to send to USCIS (immigration). This form is the Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition. It is our application to Immigration to adopt an orphan from China. We had to send a large chunk of money in along with the form and proof of identity. We are waiting on our homestudy report to be written by our social worker now. Once she has it all written, then it will be sent to Immigration so that our application can be finalized. When they receive the homestudy, they will then send us a letter of invitation to be fingerprinted for the third time. The results of those fingerprints will take several weeks to come back. When they receive a favorable response back on those, they will send us our I-171H. That is THE DOCUMENT that we need in order to proceed. It is our permission from the US that says that we are fit to be parents.

After we get the I-171H, we will take all of our documents to the Secretary of States office to be Certified. Then we will use a courier to take our documents to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago to be authenticated (another seal of approval). Once all of that is done, everything will go to our agency and they will send it to China. When China receives the documents, they will log us into their system and we will receive our "Log In Date" (LID). That is when our official wait begins.

Wait times from LID to referral have increased recently to almost 10 months. We are hoping that things speed up. When we finally get our referral, they will give us three pictures of our baby and we will get a little information about her medical and developmental status. We will then send our acceptance letter to China and wait a month or two to get our travel dates. Travel is usually two months after the referral.

When we go to China, we will be there about 15 days. Probably on the third day that we are there, we will get our baby (GOTCHA DAY). As of that day, she will be ours. We will have to stay in China for about 10 more days to finalize all the paperwork.

So that is a little about what's going to happen in the months to come. We are hoping to have our dossier to China AT LEAST by June 1st. I would like it to be at least by May 1st, but I don't know how realistic that is at this point. We've done nearly all that we can do; it is in the hands of our social worker at this point. So, check back often for updates to our journey.