It’s hard to believe that we’ve now reached the eleven-month mark since we reached out to Holt International to start the adoption process, and nine-months since we were matched to Yuan Fa. When we first saw his face, he was a four-and-a-half year old boy with the silliest (read, most vulgar) Mickey Mouse shirt and scooter, and now at five he looks so much more grown up. Kids get bigger every single day, but I think they grow much faster when you only see them through a video twice a year.
In all honesty, he’s been difficult to write about, mostly because I can’t adequately describe how silly and sad it feels to love someone so much, despite having never met them. Regardless, I know there are others going through this process, and I want to provide an honest account of our experience, with the hope of helping another family who may feel, at times, lost.
Where are we now?
By all accounts, it looks like we’ll be traveling to China in August (at the earliest) or September (at the latest). Our Dossier was logged into China in April, and shortly thereafter we’ve had a whirlwind of paperwork, including but not limited to:
- March 2019: Dossier Sent to Agency for Authentication/Certification
- March 29, 2019: Dossier Shipped to China
- April 16, 2019: Dossier Logged in (in China)
- May 22, 2019: LOA Received
- May 23, 2019: LOA Signed and Sent Back to Agency
- May 31, 2019: I-800 Filed
- June 8, 2019: China Entry Visa Paperwork Sent (to courier)
- June 11, 2019: Child Specific Preparation Tool Received from Social Worker
- June 17, 2019: I-800 Approval Received
- June 19, 2019: China Entry Visa Approvals Received
- June 20, 2019: National Visa Center Letter Received
- June 20, 2019: Older Child Preparation Requirements Received from Social Worker
- June 25, 2019: Filed DS-260
- June 21 – 27, 2019: Pre-Travel Agency Paperwork In Process
What’s still left to go?
If you can believe it, there are still a ton of steps involved between now and travel. At this point, Michael and I both feel like we can conquer any paperwork process you throw our way, but we both wish it didn’t have to be so extensive. Here’s what we still have left to do:
- Awaiting Article 5 notice (issued from U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou to Holt, to CCWA to let them know we’ve met all requirements and travel can be scheduled)
- Finish and notarize key pre-travel documents
- Finish child preparation materials for our social worker
- Find out our official dates for travel
- Purchase plane tickets (for two) for departure
- Purchase plane tickets (for three) for return
- Work with the agency travel agency to determine itinerary, appointments, and all of the paperwork needed for when we travel, as well as purchasing all of the regional tickets for traveling within China (Beijing, Shanxi, Guangzhou)
- Finish decorating his room and kid-proofing our home
- Choose a Kindergarten and set post-China doctor’s appointments
All in all
A year ago, all of this felt like a giant mountain that we’d never finish climbing. It’s getting more and more exciting to see the light at the end. I hope this little boy knows how hard we’re going to hug him when we meet him and how many more (appropriate) Mickey Mouse shirts we’re bringing for him. I’ll continue to update regularly on this blog, and will use this while in China to share updates with friends and family, since Facebook will be blocked. As always, if anyone out there reading is in the beginning stages of the adoption process, please feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to be a resource for you in any way that I can be.