We just got the call today from America World saying our application has been approved! We will be receiving a packet filled with all the requirements for our dossier for China. We will be assigned a worker who will help us with this. Then we will be completing the home study. So from here on, my days will be filled with calling and emailing and faxing and sending money for birth certificates, marriage licenses and so on. We are celebrating this week by going to get our passports! Yippee! All the kids will have to get one too! I can't wait to see Johnny's passport photo!
Most people take about 6 months to complete their dossier and have many stressful times doing it. We are believing that we can get it done within 3! I am taking on the task and ready to meet the challenge.
So here is a basic rundown of how our adoption process should go. There are three major steps in the initial adoption process which are interrelated: (1) file an application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to bring a foreign adopted orphan into the US, (2) complete the "homestudy" wherein a qualified social services agency examines us as individuals and as a family to determine our worthiness as parents, and (3) gather, prepare, certify, notarize and authenticate lots and lots of documents.
We are at the very beginning. Many call this phase "paperchasing" or the "paper pregnancy." Soonafter, we began the homestudy process which involves: tons of paperwork; several interviews and visits with the social worker; extensive medical testing/evaluations; local police record clearances; fingerprinting by several non-communicating government agencies; writing individual autobiographies; attending adoption workshops, etc. The agency also required letters of reference.
Once your dossier is complete you sent it to China. The date it is sent is called your DTC (Dossier to China). Once China receives it, it goes into a ever increasing stack of dossiers like ours. When they get to our dossier, they will match a child to our family and send us a "referral" with a photo of Hope and her medical statistics. Some lucky people get a few photos! We receive the referral and tell China yes, we want her, and they prepare for our journey to China. Within 1-2 months after we receive the referral, we are on the plane to get her!
It is a little odd to feel like you already have a baby, but now we have to wait so long. Right now, China is SO backed up. They basically have not employed any other people to help in this referral process since adoptions in China began. Since so many people are adopting from China now, thank the Lord, they cannot keep up with the referrals. So here is a prayer request: let's pray that something amazing happens in China and they employ enough people to catch up and get those babies to families! Wait times in the past years have been 6 months to a year. Currently, wait time for a referral is 2-3 YEARS. That means we may have to wait a little longer for our Hope than had anticipated. But we know it is all in God's hands and that we have His favor upon us! And we are so thankful for the Chinese government for allowing adoptions, we don't want to complain!