Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Slow Boat To China

As our LONG wait continues, I have decided that it is time I start a blog so those interested can follow along with our progress and eventually with our actual trip to China to bring our daughter home.
I am beginning to believe that there are those of you out there who no longer believe that we are adopting! And others of you who are just humoring me by going along with my stories relating to "my daughter Willow-who will come from China". Thinking about those imaginary friends you had when you were little. But really...IT'S TRUE!

There is a whole different world out there in the land of adoption...specifically International Adoption, that no one knows about until they are involved. Maybe it would help if I give all of you a "crash course": INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION 101.
Okay, let's assume that you have done your research, decided that you wish to adopt internationally to add to your family and have chosen which country you wish to adopt from.

  1. Choose an agency--in our case Little Miracles, Inc. (after much research)
  2. Submit your application to the agency, pay some money.
  3. Once accepted by agency, sign your contract with agency, pay some money.
  4. Start compiling paperwork you need for your dossier: birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, police clearances, medical reports, financial reports, employment verifications, photographs, pay some money.
  5. Schedule with Social Worker meetings required for home study. Joint meetings with both spouses and individual meetings. Your social worker will provide a written home study report after your meetings, pay some money.
  6. File necessary paperwork with state of AZ to be legally authorized by a Judge to be an adoptive parent in AZ. *this is a bonus one we had to do...not many states require state approval, pay some money.
  7. File necessary paperwork with US Government Immigration to be legally authorized to be an adoptive parent of a child born outside of the United States. This one includes getting FBI fingerprints! Oh...and pay some money.
  8. As all the documents from items 4-7 are all compiled, they must be notarized, for notaries of course, you have to pay some money.
  9. Once you get all your documents together, your home study, your state clearance and your immigration approval, this is considered your "dossier", it gets sent to your agency, translated to Chinese and sent to the government agency in China responsible for adoptions in the country, the CCAA. The date your dossier gets sent to China is your "DTC".
  10. Once the CCAA has your dossier you wait for them to log it in their system, this is called your "LID". And once they have it logged in....your wait technically begins! Apparently all of the months of paperwork, appointments and meetings that have gone on prior to this were the pre-wait.
  11. After you are LID, the CCAA basically has only 2 processes of handling your paperwork.
  12. First, everything that was sent in your dossier is reviewed by a CCAA worker to ensure accuracy of paperwork, that you meet their requirements, etc...This is the REVIEW ROOM.
  13. After the Review Room is the MATCHING ROOM. This is where a CCAA worker looks at our dossier and photos and looks at the photos and files of the babies that are available and matches a baby to our family!
  14. The match that is made in the Matching Room is called your REFERRAL. This information is sent from the CCAA to your agency, your agency has the information translated from Chinese to English, reviews the information and forwards it to you.
  15. You decide, based on the information provided, if you will accept or deny the referral. Nearly all referrals from China are accepted, usually referrals that are denied, from any country are due to possible medical issues, but this is highly unusual in China.
  16. Once you accept your referral, the acceptance is sent back to the CCAA and you wait to get your Travel Approval ,TA, and your Consulate Appointment, CA, dates in China.
  17. When you have these dates, you can apply for your Visa, make your travel arrangements and off you go to China.

This is a VERY BASIC outline as to the process of what every adoptive parent has to go through before they even travel to China. I will outline what actually happens when you are in China for your adoption in another post soon.

I would think that for you "outsiders" from the international adoption world, your heads might be spinning, but keep following these posts, there will be much more to add in preparations for the adoption.

It is funny though, because I already know that all of this, as well as all that we have yet to go through, will turn out to be so inconsequential once Willow is placed in our arms!