I know I have been a total delinquent (see previous post) in blogging since 2011. But as you read, I'm trying to get my groove back and so part of that is limiting my time on the PC after coming home from work. But I have about an hour tonight, so I'm going to blog and then I'm going to plan out what else I'm going to tell you that's been going on that I have not had time to talk about. So here we go...
I'm going to be adding this timeline to the sidebar eventually, but for those interested, here's our timeline so far (I added some commentary for those not familiar with adoption but who are really interested in understanding the process):
August 8, 2010: Applied to the China Program with America World Adoption Agency. I must say, the decision to adopt came fairly quickly once Steve had made his mind up. Choosing our agency? Not so easy. There are HUNDREDS of agencies out there. And it was so overwhelming to know which one to choose. I said before, my friend Jamie told me once upon a time, "You just know when you find the right agency". At the time, that made sense to me, but when it was us trying to decide, it was way harder. Or so it seemed. You know, that could be a good idea for another post. Writing it down... :)
August 13, 2010: Received acceptance into the China Program! Can you believe between August 8 and the 13th, I knew we were adopting, but couldn't (wasn't going to) share with anyone? Of course, my friends Katelyn and Rachel knew, because I HAD to talk to someone! But not one other soul knew. Again, my wise friend Jamie advised to wait until you were accepted into your program of choice before telling folks. Because there are too many people with good intentions that would say, "Why are you adopting from there?" and "Are you sure that's a good idea?" if you were to saying you were "thinking about" or "considering" adopting from your chosen country. That time period is basically the weeks between the time you find out you are pregnant and the time you actually announce the news!
August 25, 2010: 1st home study visit. I was so giddy! Steve and I met our social worker at Panera. And I cried as I told the story of how we got there. Of course I cried.
September 1, 2010: Sandra’s home study visit. We were required to have one individual visit with the social worker. We met at our home church's cafe and it was very casual. Just a good time talking about my life growing up and married life etc. Not at all invasive feeling like you think it will be. The paperwork that goes along with the homestudy...not THAT'S a different story!
September 8, 2010: Steve’s home study visit. Same as above. A week later, Steve and the social worker met in the same spot and I'm sure he answered most of the same questions.
September 17, 2010: Final home study visit! This one was interesting because it was a home visit. Of course, even though they tell you not to make a big deal of it, it's still nerve-wracking. I had this vision of the social worker coming in with her clipboard and checking things off that violated the child-safety-code (??). But it was nothing like that. She met Jenna who was instantly her best friend and she toured the house and then asked a few questions. Jenna was out of school that day, so there was no rush. Again, totally non-invasive.
November 8, 2010: Beg Steve’s doctor to finalize paperwork so we can complete home study. Holy cow. I thought I was going to lose my mind. Doctor's paperwork was difficult. I ended up needing another full physical which I got before I went to South Africa (probably a good time to do that), but because I'd had LASIK which my doctor noted on the form, I had to have a letter written by the LASIK surgeon to accompany my doctor's form. And if I thought THAT was a pain, think of all Steve's issues with diabetes and broken hips etc. I told Steve to get in for a physical while I was gone to SA and he did. The form was filled out and notarized and I finally got to pick it up. Only to discover there was no accompanying letter. I finally got the letter done (by writing it myself and sending it to them to put on their letterhead) and when I went to pick it up, it wasn't notarized (Adoption 101-everything must be notarized). Finally, I had to resort to begging. I basically told them that we could not travel to get our daughter without this letter. Which is true. There was just about 2,392 steps after that also! Anyway, the day we got the paperwork finalized was a sweet day indeed!
November 18, 2010: Home Study COMPLETE!
November 19, 2010: USCIS I-800 application overnighted. This is the BIG thing that all adoptive families (internationals) must do and most dread. Mostly because it takes a blue forever to get this part of the process done and you are typically sitting around waiting on the government (immigration) to do their thing. But it was such a relief to have this part done. Now a different waiting begins.
November 26, 2010: Received confirmation payment to USCIS cleared. Basically, my check cleared letting me know they got our application and it was in process.
December 24, 2010: Received USCIS Appointment cards! This is what you wait for! Appointments to get your fingerprints done.
January 18, 2011: USCIS fingerprinting appointment! Now we pray that it doesn't come a flood, tornado or more likely snow and keep us from going. And that our fingerprints are done correctly and can be read. With Steve being a diabetic and having to prick his fingers for the last 40+ years, I'm starting to worry about that now.
So...what's next? Well, we are hoping it will only take a couple weeks (or less) to get the results back from the fingerprint visit (This is called a 797). When those arrive, we have to get a notarized copy of the original and take that, along with the homestudy to be county certified (basically the county the notary is in testifies that the notary is legit). Then the 797, the homestudy, both our birth certificates, marriage certificate, Steve's divorce certificate, Steve's doctor form and letter and both our background checks (the latter have all already been county certified) all have to go and be state certified (verifying the county clerk is legit I guess!). Lucky for me, I work in Nashville, so those can just be run down during lunch. It's easy...just an extra step.
After that? I have to make 3,423 copies of everything I have ever done for this adoption and overnight them to AWAA who will help me get them to the Secretary of State AND Chinese Embassy in Washington DC for the final authorizations. After that...
DTC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That means "dossier to China"...all that we have worked for goes to China and then the hardest waiting of all begins...waiting to meet our Kylie.
So there you have it. Now you know more than you ever thought possible about OUR adoption process!