Joel and I have sensed a calling to international adoption for many years. In May, 2009 God made it abundantly clear that it was time. After much prayer, research and wise counsel we began the process to adopt a daughter from China. God directed us to an incredible agency that was founded by a family with an amazing testimony. This blog is a chronicle of our journey, to inform our friends and family and as a record of events for our daughter to read one day. Join us in the journey... it is sure to be an adventure!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

There is Light at the End of the Tunnel

The sealing process for dossier documents can be a three, four or five-step process. This depends on the state in which you live. Of course, Maryland is a five-step state. The steps are:
2)County Certification (approving the notary)
3)Secretary of State Certification (approving the county clerk)
4)US State Dept. Authentication (approving the Secretary of State)
5)Chinese Embassy Authentication (approving everything)

Yesterday we made the trek into DC to get step four taken care of. I am thankful that I live within an hour of our state capital and DC. This has allowed me to hand-deliver our documents rather than mailing them. Something about entrusting these documents which I have carried around with me for three months "just in case the house burns down" to the US Postal Service is a bit disconcerting. And, let's not talk about the personal nature of what they contain!

So, step four is done and all that is left is the Chinese Embassy, which has it's own hoops to jump through. We are going to have to mail everything, because of their rules, so they will be overnighted pretty soon. Once this is done, we will just be waiting on our invitation from USCIS for fingerprinting and their approval document. Then this document will need to go through the sealing process and our dossier will actually be complete!

It could be as late as February before we receive that final document, although I hope it will come more quickly. Most adoptive families see this as the last big hurdle.

I also decided to send scans of our documents to our agency this week to check behind me and make sure that I've done everything right. I just received an approval email from our dossier consultant. I am so relieved. As careful as I have tried to be, I had this nagging feeling that I had missed something.
So, all that to say...there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

USCIS Filing...DONE :)

We mailed our application to US Customs and Immigration this week...finally! This takes 10-20 weeks to process and will include an invitation to have biometric fingerprinting done at some point during that time. While we wait for that approval to come through, I will begin the "sealing" process for all of our other documents...the multiple certifications that I talked about in an earlier post. USCIS approval is really the last BIG hurdle (other than finding her). The rest is just jumping through hoops. Pray that this approval moves quickly!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Another Small Step Forward

I am listening to power tools whirring outside, finishing out our basement to add a little more living area to the house in anticipation of our family's increase. Each step of physical preparation makes this whole journey seem a little more real.

I received word from CCAI that our homestudy has finally and wholly passed muster, after multiple reviews. So, the homestudy agency is preparing the official copies that can be distributed to the necessary government agencies between here and China. The biggest part of this is that it will allow us to file with USCIS (US Customs and Immigration) for their approval to adopt. This one is a hurry up and wait kind of thing. It takes 6-10 weeks to get this approval. Somewhere in the midst of it we will be invited by USCIS to go in for biometric fingerprinting. Once that approval comes back, we will be in possession of all of the documents needed for our dossier and we will beging the "sealing" process, which is the multiple-layered approval of all county, state and federal governments and the Chinese Embassy.

And so...we wait...some more...trusting that God will lead us to Grace in His perfect time and in His perfect way.