I have to tell you, my head is still spinning with the news that our LOA is here. We aren't leaving anytime soon, but I've heard the process picks up speed from here on out. After 144 days, anything would be faster than that.
I'm getting quite a few questions on what's next and to be honest, I had been waiting SO long on LOA, that I had to go back and refresh my memory on what IS next! So here we go...
Now that we have our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) or LSC (Letter Seeking Confirmation) as some call it, we will ask US Immigration for their approval to bring Kylie home. Back when we were doing our dossier, we asked them for permission to bring "A" child home from China. They approved that, but now that we have a specific child, we need approval to bring her home.
This is called the I-800 application. You can't send in your I-800 until you have your LOA because a signed copy of it has to be attached. However, in an effort to expedite things, we had already completed our I-800. Our agency scanned the LOA to us, we signed it and emailed it back. They then emailed it directly to our agent at the USCIS in hopes that would cut off a few weeks of our wait.
Once our USCIS officer approves the I-800 application, he/she will forward the approval to the NVC (National Visa Center) and they put it in their system and send it to the US Consulate in China. We then have to forward that letter to our agency who forwards it to the US Consulate. Once they have that, they issue what is called an Article 5 which is basically them approving Kylie's visa to be issued. That Article 5 has to be picked up in China and delivered to the China adoption authority called the CCCWA. Once the CCCWA knows the US has authorized Kylie for a visa, they will issue Travel Approval (TA)! That right there is the golden ticket to China! Once we have TA, we can request a date for our consulate appointment and make travel arrangements!
The question is how long does all this take? Well, 2-3 months. But as we know, it can take longer. Once you receive TA, it takes about 24 hours to approve your consulate appointment and you can leave as quickly as you can get plane tickets bought. However, I would like to have a few weeks to prepare. I need to wrap stuff up at work, Jenna needs to wrap stuff up at school, we have to pack for 2 1/2 weeks in country...
I am praying we can travel the week of March 19-23 which is Jenna's spring break. It would be so much better if we could use that week so she doesn't have to miss a week of school. Ideally, we'd leave on Thursday, March 8, spend our first week in Jiangsu the week of March 12-16 and the second and final week in Guangzhou the week of the 19-23. But if we had to have the first week the 19-23, that would work too. If all the steps above happen in their average time frames, we could do it. But I've learned the hard way, things in this process don't always go as it's supposed to. So we'll just pray the Lord does what He wills and I'll just be along for the ride!
In summary, our very next step is waiting for the I-800 approval. I'll add that over there to the right in our timeline so you can easily remember.
As for today, it's clean your closet day for me and I'm going to get the suitcases down and start putting in non-clothing items slowly...I had planned to do this after Christmas anyway. Now I have more reason to!