Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Beijing arrival : 24 July
Holt orientation : 25 July
Date to province (and meet RJ): 26 July
Guangzhou Arrival (for the US visa paperwork): 31 July
U.S. consulate visa appointment: 4 August
Visa issued: 5 August
Now, it is time to firm up flight plans...for the family vacation and all else!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
This is the final document that we wait for to come from China before my agency can finalize the actual travel date, adoption date, consulate appointment for a visa and so on!!!
The travel days will be based on when we can get an 'interview' time at the US consulate for RJ's visa. From there, they will count back days for the other dates that must occur first: the ADOPTION, getting RJ's Chinese passport, conducting the required medical exam, filling out paperwork, etc. etc. The US consulate in Guangzhou is closed tomorrow, so the agency won't be able to make firm dates until early next week. But they said that travel should be expected to be mid-July!
This will be interesting. My sister Karen is planning a big family vacation around these adoption dates. The plan is for her family (7 of them) and Austen (my nephew) and me and Emma to all go for an extra week to China, the week before I am needed there for the adoption. Then all the kids will come home and I will stay for the 'adoption trip' - along with Emma, of course, and Karen and Matt. Besides the fact that it will give us only like 2 weeks to prepare...the most 'interesting' part is that Eric, Karen's son, is still on his mission in Arkansas - until July 14.....hmmmmm. We are just having to take it one day at a time....and figure it out!
I'm so excited though. I will have RJ in my arms in about a month!!!! I simply can't believe it.
Monday, June 8, 2009
As you will see from the process below, intercountry adoption is not for the impatient or those who can not tolerate red-tape! Much of the process, especially the unknown waiting period (which has now been over 2 years for me) is a big pain...but then again, I shouldn't complain... I'm told the childbirth process is pretty uncomfortable...so, I guess it all evens out ...ha, ha!
So, here's a little recap of the journey (so far) to RJ. You will see that there are four basic entities involved in this process. Here is a list to keep them all straight:
- Adoptive Parent (that's ME!)
- Holt International (that's my adoption agency)
- USCIS - the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (the government agency that allows for intercountry adoptions and controls the staus of the adopted child - to become citizens, permanent residents, etc.)
- CCAA - the China Center of Adoption Affairs (the central Chinese govt. entity that approves and processes adoptions of Chinese citizens)
June, 2006 An agency (not the one I used for Emma's adoption) calls to find out if I am still interested in pursuing an adoption because my name (which was place on their waiting list more than two years ago), has nearly reached the top of the single's waiting list. Of course I tell them YES...I want to do another adoption. They tell me that they will be in touch a little closer to the end of the year, but that they just wanted to update their information on the waiting list. There is a limit on the quota of how many singles can adopt per agency per year. They anticipate having a singles slot for me in early 2007.
July, 2006 Another agency, Holt, calls also to let me know that my spot on their single's waiting list is coming up in the next few months. Cool. Now I have a choice of agencies. I will need to decide before the end of the year.
August 15, 2006 Holt contacts me with urgent news saying that they have just learned that China is not going to be accepting single applicants at all beginning January 1, 2007. However, if I want to rush...and I can get my documents submitted by early December, they will have a single slot available for me and I will be able to get my application to China before they cut off single applicants. So, I contact Agency #1 (which is the agency I want to go with) to ask them about this policy. They don't know anything about it yet. They definitely have a spot available for me - but it won't be open until early in 2007. Out of an abundance of caution that the policy might come into effect, I choose to go with Holt, since I can start the process right away and can for sure get my papers in before the CCAA decides not to take more single applicants (if that even happens).
August 17, 2006 Send initial application to agency.
August 21, 2006 Do fingerprints (for criminal records check), send request for certified birth certificate copy, sign employment verification authorization
August, 2006 Get three letters of reference from friends stating that I am a great adoptive parent applicant!
August 23, 2006 FedEx various information forms, criminal record statement, financial statement and other information to Agency
August 30, 2006 Medical exam to assure that I meet the requirements imposed by the CCAA for an adoptive parent.
August 31, 2006 Receive notice of completion from Agency of the "formal application phase". Now I am ready to begin the Home Study phase (once pre-payment is received, of course!)
September 1, 2006 Go to L.A. Police Department and get a clearance letter stating that I have no criminal history.
September 1, 2006 First meeting with Social Worker, Ilana, at her office
September 2, 2006 Second meeting with Social Worker.
September 7, 2006 Submit, in person, at the Los Angeles USCIS office the I-600A (the application for the intercountry adoption).
September 7, 2006 Do fingerprints for USCIS approval
September 11, 2006 Home visit by Social Worker
September 6, 2006 Send Birth Certificate to Idaho Secretary of State for authentication
September 11, 2006 Send Birth Certificate to U.S. Dept. of State for authentication
September 7, 2006 Send Guardianship letter to Arizona Sec. of State for authentication
September 7, 2006 Send Home Study to CA Sec. of State for authentication
September 20, 2006 Submit birth certificate to Chinese Embassy for final authentication
October 5, 2006 Send USCIS Form I-171H (Notice of Approval of Advance Processing) to CA Sec. of State for authentication
October 6, 2006 Receive official word that the restriction against singles will not be implemented by January 1st...so no need to worry or rush. However, since I am already so far into it....I just keep plugging along at lightning speed!
October 25, 2006 Submit all documents to Chinese Consulate for final authentication
November 3, 2006 Submit all documents - the "Dossier" to Holt for review and to send to the CCAA!
November 10, 2006 Dossier shipped from Holt to CCAA in Beijing!
November, 2006 Received "brown envelope" from US Consulate in Guangzhou China (basically all the immigration documents that I will need to submit at the time of adoption)
December 8, 2006 Receive email indicating that after May 1, 2007, no more single applications will be accepted. Of course my application is already on its way...so I should be OK!
December 13, 2006 Logged in to the CCAA system in China
January 22, 2008 Interview with Social Worker for Home Study update (because the first one is expiring - they only last 18 months)
March 19, 2008 Submit renewal I-600A
April 23, 2008 Fingerprint appointment for USCIS renewal application
April 23, 2008 Received notice that CCAA had completed its review of all dossiers logged in before December 31, 2006. In other words, they have looked at my file and I passed all the requirements...now I just have to wait for a referral!
July 2, 2008 Refingerprinted because first attempt failed
July, 2008 Received notice of approval I-171H (valid until January 2010, Fingerprints valid until October 1, 2009)
November, 2008 After a two year wait from the time of log in with the CCAA, (with Emma the wait was about 7 months) I begin to consider the option of a "China Child of Promise" or, in other words, a child with minor correctable medical needs that classify them as harder to place for adoption
March 6, 2009 Submit Medical Checklist - indicating conditions that I would consider for acceptance of a referral
March 26, 2009 Receive a call from Brian at Holt that I have a possible referral....and do I want to see the picture. OF COURSE! I fall in love with RJ Ping's beautiful face.
March 27, 2009 Send my Letter of Intent to Holt to send on to CCAA. It is the letter that indicates that I want to pursue an adoption of this beautiful little boy.
May 26, 2009 Received from CCAA the Letter of Approval - or the Letter Seeking Confirmation. This letter is one that says CCAA has approved me to go forward with the adoption of RJ and now, I need to send it back with a formal indication that I will proceed.
June 18, 2009 Receive document known as Travel Approval. It is issued by the CCAA...to allow the agencies to set appointments-- on the China side: official adoption date, and Chinese passport issuance, etc. and on the USCIS side: medical appointment and consulate appointment with USCIS (for issuance of the US visa)
????? Travel date
????? Date to pick up RJ for adoption
???? Adoption finalization date
????? USCIS Consulate appointment date
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
When I started the adoption process again, back in 2006, I joined some adoption groups on the web to share in the journey with others who were in similar circumstances. At different times over the past few years, some of those groups have had fabric exchanges and good wishes swaps. I also was blessed to have fabrics from many dear friends from my church in California who so generously made me a quilt, along with wishes and everything, when I moved from there. So for more than 2 years I have kept fabric squares and wishes in a box...just sitting there waiting for inspiration to come.
On March 27, 2009 the inspiration came. RJ Ping Broberg was introduced into my life. Almost immediately I pulled out my fabric squares and wishes and started a quilt for RJ. While certainly I am not a professional quilter, and I ended up tying the quilt instead of quilting it, I think it turned out cute and I love having all these wonderful squares from my dear friends and my adoption 'friends' around the world. I even made a few squares that have pictures of RJ, grandma and grandpa, Emma and me. Here is the result:
Now Emma wants to know when she gets hers. So I guess I better get started on it!