Tuesday, July 24, 2012

So whats next?

So we were so excited to receive our I-797 Approval Notice letter from the USCIS, since it is the last piece to our dossier.  But there are a few more steps we need to complete before everything is sent to China.  So what's the next step?

The USCIS letter we received is needed later in the adoption process, so we need to make a photocopy, have the copy notarized, and then send it to the TX Secretary of State to be certified (remember our posts back in March bout the paper chase process).  This process typically takes 5-7 days to complete.  So today, bright and early we stopped by our local UPS store to copy, notarize, and same-day deliver our I-797 letter to the Secretary of State in Austin, TX.

Then (hopefully next week) we will send the I-797 letter with the state certification, via our courier or perhaps ourselves (depending on what day we receive the state certified copy), to the Chinese Consulate in Houston--about 2-3 hour drive from Austin.  The Chinese Consulate in TX requires all documents to be delivered in person, which requires us to hire a courier or to bring it ourselves.  We think it would be a fun road trip, but is totally at the mercy of our work schedules, so we will see. Luckily we have already completed this process with several other documents and LOVE our courier (www.mychinadocs.com), and the process generally only takes 7-10 days.  By delivering it ourselves we probably save a couple of days.

After these steps, we will have the copy of the I-797 letter, which is notarized, state certified and authenticated by the Chinese Consulate, ready to be sent to our adoption agency Children's Hope International in St. Louis, MO. And then..it will be on way to China within the same week.  So here's to hoping we will be DTC -(Dossier To China) in 4-6 weeks!

Monday, July 23, 2012

USCIS Approval Letter

Three weeks ago on July 2 we went to have our fingerprints done for our last piece of our Dossier.  We were not sure how long this approval letter would take to get, and our social worker warned us that frequently USCIS requests additional information, which obviously extends the time frame.  We nervously waited and checked the mail everyday even if it was logically too early to expect to receive...we continued to check!

Throughout this process, we met "Blog Friends" who already adopted from China and their "Adoption Timelines" have been helpful.  The average wait time for the USCIS Approval letter, after fingerprinting, averaged about four weeks. Our four-week date was set on July 29,  and we tried not to focus on it arriving on any other timeline but our own!  Embracing the unknown of adoption has been the best lesson-learned so far...in order to avoid disappointment but also to encourage us to apply faith in where our story is taking us.

Today when opening the mailbox we were pleasantly surprised.  One week earlier than expected, we received our approval letter!  We are overjoyed, anxious, and excited that our journey is finally taking off and before we know it, our dossier will be sent to China!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

En Route to STL

Stack of Dossier Paperwork

DZ Pink & Green Photo sent to our STL Social Worker

So we sent all our documents except our I-797 document to our agency in STL.  We love our agency but could not use them for our Home study, we were required to use an Adoption Agency in Texas.  So most of our paperwork has been completed by our "TX" agency and our TX social worker and we are just beginning to make contact with our placement agency.  We all decided to send our "almost complete" Dossier to STL to double and triple check so that once we receive our I-797 form we are READY to rock 'n roll and send our paperwork to China.  Our agency usually doesn't accept incomplete Dossiers but to make us feel better agreed to take a look at everything a little bit earlier.  It was such a relief to send all these documents to STL almost too much of a relief I didn't take any photos of all our hard work!

I LOVED the following message on July 19, 2012 from our STL Agency Social Worker....

"I just finished going through all your documents for your dossier. Everything looks good. I am going to make copies and have it all ready to be sent to china as soon as I received your I-800A approval (I-797C).
Now I am going to sound like Reese Witherspoon from the movie Legally Blonde. OMG! I am a Delta Zeta too.
I saw that in one of your reference letters."
En Route to STL

So our "almost complete" Dossier is good to go and all we need is our I-797 and we will be able to send our completed Dossier to China and our status will be DTC-Dossier to China.  We will then wait 4-6 weeks to Log in-LID and then we will be officially on the "waiting families" list awaiting to be matched with our sweet baby girl.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dossier Checklist

So we mentioned the process of what our documents need to be approved for our Hague Country China, this entails Notarize then State Certify and Authenticate Documents at Chinese Consolate

Dossier Check List for a
China International Adoption

¨ Letter of Petition
¨ I-171H or I-797C
¨ Marriage Certificate or Single Status Letter
¨ Divorce Decree if Single now
¨ W/H Birth Certificate(s)
¨ W/H Medical Report
¨ Financial Declaration for Adoption
¨ W/H Employer or Non-Employment Letter
¨ W/H Police Reports
¨ Power of Attorney if only one parent is traveling
¨ Home Study
¨ Passport Photos – two each
¨ Photos
¨ Colored copy of picture page and ID page of parent(s) passport
¨  6 Reference letters
¨ Agency Agreement (only needed if CHI did not do your home study)
¨ A copy of your agency’s license
¨ Home Study and Post Adoption Agreement between parents and Home Study Agency
¨ Physician’s Statement

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Just Love Coffee

We began a second fundraiser with Just Love Coffee  all proceeds will help bring Lottie Lee home.  There are many varieties to choose from and now your morning cup of coffee could mean so much more, it can make a difference for our family! 

Want to learn a little about Just Love Coffee.  Their vision is not only creating outstanding coffees, but coffees that are fair and sustainable. Fair- meaning that the coffee farmers are paid a living wage for their work. Sustainable- meaning that the coffee cherries are grown and harvested in a way that protects our precious natural resources. Just Love coffees purchases only organic, shade grown, coffee beans- Fair Trade Certified, when available. In addition, Just Love is a Fair Trade Certified company.

We will be filing our documents in the upcoming months and the sales from Just Love Coffee can help us with our final Dossier payments.  Do you  want to buy some coffee in honor of our sweet baby girl??...please click here Coffee for Lottie Lee and happy shopping!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July

236 years ago...on July 4th, 1776
This great nation, the United States of America,
In a struggle for what was right and free,
Was proudly born...
May we celebrate that precious freedom
For which our forbears fought so bravely...
The freedom that is inherent
In the Stars and Stripes, our revered flag...
Celebrate Freedom
  This Fourth of July!

Charlotte Lee will have many patriotic outfits to choose from, although her Chinese heritage will play an important role in her identity, so will her American heritage.  As you can see she already as many outfits for our 4th of July celebration 2013.

Monday, July 2, 2012

USCIS Fingerprints-Finger(Print)s Crossed

On the appointment card rest the Chinese symbol for Good Luck

Today July 2, 2012 at 2pm Central Standard time, we were fingerprinted for our approval for our dossier. The appointment took 10 minutes and we were in and out with 20 fingerprints saved into the USCIS system. Now we wait for the approval letter stating we have final approval to adopt from China. This last document will be notarized, state certified in Austin and send to Houston via a Courier to the Chinese Consulate to be authenticated. Once it is back in our hands- along with all the other documents will be en route to CHINA! How long will this take? As long as it is meant to be....

We are so excited to reach our final step in completing our Dossier!