Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tug at your heart

I have been postponing this post all weekend because it is just a hard one to write....

Last Monday around 6 pm I got a note from our agency letting us know that it was possible that we may get a referral that evening.  Apparently, there is a special focus list of children that are available for referrals when the adoptive parent's paperwork is in process but not quite in China yet (our situation as of this month).    I read the email after work around 5:30, mentioned it to Matt around 6 and by 7:30 we had our first referral in our inbox.

The little girl's name is Yu Xin Yuan and she is about 12 mos old. The orphanage was not sure her birthday but she was found at the steps of the orphanage in late May 2010 and was about 1 mos old at that time.   The referral came with 6 pictures and a full medical file including lab work.

We sent the referral to an adoption doctor who called us back within 12 hours and gave us feedback on the medical details. We spent the day praying, talking, and praying some more.  In the end, the little girl had some special needs that we were not prepared to handle so we turned the referral down.  It was one of the hardest things we have ever done.

A good friend gave me two pieces of advice that bring me peace -- 1) This is why we selected international adoption and China specifically. Internationally, we have the option to select a child (domestically you are more likely to have the birth mother select you). While that may seem super harsh, it is the reality of adoption. Also, we got a ton of medical information from China about the child. The information and the process were clear and straightforward.  2) There is another family just waiting for this girl and would jump at the chance to parent her...just like our daughter is out there waiting for us and we will jump at the chance to parent her. 

In the meantime, we are still praying that Yu Xin Yuan finds her forever family soon. Our agency will keep us posted --  if she falls off the list we know someone locked her and if she doesn't return, that means she is being adopted.

As for next steps -- our agency said they are just wrapping up the authentication & certification of our paperwork and that they hope to get our documents to China this week. It is our hope that we could then get a Locked in Date (LID) quickly after that.  The LID really just means that China got our stuff in the mail and confirmed we are now a waiting family.  If we get the LID date before the June release of the database, we will be eligible for a referral in June off of the main list. If we don't get a LID in time, we would be eligible for a referral from the special focus list again in June and the main list in July. If you followed all of the above then you are an adoption expert! :-)

Not every post during this journey is the easiest to write but it's a journey we want to document so thanks for taking it with us!

Monday, May 9, 2011

I 800A Approval - Happy Mother's Day!!

This morning Matt called USCIS to check on our I800-A status (I figured he should call given the number of times I had called already!). Good news, they told him they had assigned someone on Friday 5/6 and that we had been approved that same day!!  They said we should get our approval by Thursday!

Well, as icing on the cake, I saw the mailman drop off the mail this afternoon at 2:30 and, to my surprise, the approval was sitting in the mailbox (all the way from TX)!!  I was able to stop at the bank and get the cashiers check, I800A Approval, and all the other paperwork to the post office in time to overnight it to our agency. So we officially have all of our paperwork off to the agency!! From here, the agency will send all of our notarized documents to the appropriate Secretary of States and Chinese Consulates/Embassies for certification and authentication. Once all of those items are completed (4-6 weeks), our dossier goes to China (DTC) and we are eligible for a referral.

On another happy note, Matt made my mothers day very special. Attached is the card Matt and Lexie made for me.  He brought the card along with breakfast in bed to me Sunday morning (I know, he is good!).  He was able to get a great deal on a bike trailer from a friend (hence the picture of us riding bikes with our 2 kids and the trailer). We wish we lived closer to town so we could walk to the farmers market, parades, etc. but are hoping the trailer will allow us to still get to town on our bikes! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dossier paperwork and Conversations with a USCIS Agent...

I called for an update last Friday on our I 800a approval and we still do not have an agent assigned to our case, so I have no real update on that front.

When I call to check on the status, I can't help but imagine what is going on with the person who answers the phone. I mean, how many people are processing paperwork vs. answering phones if our paperwork has been sitting there for 7 weeks with no progress? Does the person answering the phone have the ability to just assign someone to the open case? Could I potentially bribe this person to do just that? No, No that isn't right and (probably) isn't even possible. :-)

After this moment of weakness, I pull it together, say thank you, and hang up the phone.  They did tell me it would be 45-60 days when I submitted my form and it has been 47 days today so I am not sure why my panties are in a bunch on this topic!

In any case, Matt and I need to have all of our paperwork for the Dossier (pronounced dos-ee-ey) ready to go so that when we get the I800A approval, we can quickly get all of the paperwork and a big whomping (certified) check in the mail to our agency.  Once they have those items, they will translate all of our documents to chinese, get them authenticated, certified, and then send them to China for us. 

Here is what all of the paperwork looks like.

And for those of you that are "list" based (head nod my side of the family), here was my list of required items for the Homestudy and Dossier.  I am happy to say we have it all together, just missing that last item!  That is all for now, hopefully an update next week or the following!

  • Agency Agreement for China Adoption Services – Notarized
  • Agency Civil Rights Compliance Awareness Form
  • CCAA Letter of Application and Commitment
  • Birth Certificate (Husband) w/parents’ names listed (extended version) – ORIGINAL, not older than 9 mos
  • Birth Certificate (Wife) w/parents’ names listed (extended version) – ORIGINAL, not older than 9 mos
  • Birth Certificate (child) – ORIGINAL
  • Marriage Certificate (from the town/city) – ORIGINAL, not older than 9 mos (we had to order from Jamaica)
  • Criminal Record Check (Husband)**see below
  • Criminal Record Check (Wife)**see below      
  • Matt, Minor in Possession – Court Docket Paperwork Notarized and accompanying personal letter of explanation – Thank you to MIL Lorna for going to Grand Rapids Court House!!
  • Christy, Minor in Possession - Court Docket Paperwork Notarized and accompanying personal letter of explanation – (come on, I was 6 mos away from my 21st birthday!!)
  • Verification of Employment including salary and health benefits (Husband) notarized
  • Verification of Employment including salary and health benefits  (Wife) – notarized
  • 2 different Financial Statement including assets, liabilities, net worth and monthly cash flow –CAWLI & Living Hope
  • 5 Pictures of Home, one of which has the entire home and family in view
  • 5 Pictures of Lexie, Matt, Christy
  • Matt’s DD214 (Army Discharge indicating honorable)
  • Passport Photocopy  (Husband)
  • Passport Photocopy  (Wife)
  • 2 Passport Pictures (Husband)
  • 2 Passport Pictures (Wife)
  • 3 Reference Letters from friends/neighborhoods
  • Child Abuse Registry Checks for your home state and all other states and countries lived in since 18 (i.e. NC, IL, and MI)
  • 3 years’ Tax Returns (1040s only – first two pages)
  • Autobiography (Husband)
  • Autobiography (Wife)
  • Post Placement Prepay Verification Statement  ($350 per report, 6 reports over 5 years when child is home)
  • Adoption Training certificate of completion
  • Medical Checklist
  • Home study - notarized
  • Home study License – notarized
  • Christy/Matt/Lexie Medical Form –   Thank you Dr. Bruderly for redoing the form 4 times!!
o        4 different forms: Adoption Associates, C&PS, CAWLI, and Living Hope
o        Immunization Record – Alexis
o        Matt and Christy Medical lab results  including Tuberculosis, HIV, Hep B, and more!
  • Letter of explanation for Matt’s CIDP indicating it will not affect his ability to parent
  •  I-800A application form
  •  Fingerprints
  • USCIS Approval – pending!
  • and a partrige in a pear treeeeeeeee