I never did update this! Things got a little nutty.
Little Dude has been home 16 months, he’ll be 5 in October (can’t believe that) and is doing fantastic. He’s grown over 8 inches and has gone from being like a 12-18 month old to a 4 year old in such a short amount of time. It’s been a challenging year or so, but we are finding our footing!
He loves books, trucks, and is rocking therapy, preschool, and swimming lessons (level 3!)
I am at the point that I’m contemplating going back soon-ish, so I’m updating my homestudy as we are now required to have an updated homestudy before we can lock the file of a certain child, so I may continue to update this.
My sister is also in process and will be traveling within the next month or so!
I received Travel Approval on Monday, and my approved Consulate Appointment on Tuesday. I’m leaving in 6 days!
This week has been crazy between work, setting up plans for my sub while I’m on leave from work, meetings, booking flights, and so forth.
I will meet Little Dude on December 26th, the day after Christmas. It feels like the wait was so torturous, and suddenly its time to leave!
The wait for LOA was excruciating.
And now I’m waiting for Article 5 – suddenly it seems so close!
As long as there are no issues with my Article 5 documents, they should be picked up on December 6th, then I will be finally waiting for travel approval (TA). After TA I will get my consulate appointment (CA) and then I can book flights.
It’s getting real! I see people after TA talking about packing… I’ve been packed since… August? I can’t wait!
What is home?
For many of us it brings up the sights, smells, and feelings of a familiar place. A place where we feel safe and comfortable, where our needs are met, and where we are surrounded by people who love and care for us. I’m sure I’m not alone when the concept of “home” entails multiple places, such as my childhood home, my grandmother’s home, and my current home.
When you picture “home” is this what you imagine?
This is little dude’s orphanage. It sits across from another privately run orphanage and adjacent to a mental hospital. He spends his days between a room filled with cribs and a small playroom. That is his whole world right now. This is his “home” which he shares it with approximately 750+ other children.
750+ children in this one orphanage, in this one city, in this one province, in this huge country. Unimaginable. I can only assume that he is loved by someone and that he is being cared for. I don’t know that for sure. Many orphanages do the best they can with their limited resources and staff, and many nannies do love the children. Unfortunately not all orphanages or nannies are good, some can be very abusive and neglectful. While I don’t think that little dude’s orphanage is abusive or neglectful, the uncertainty kills me.
Travel cannot come quickly enough, I’m getting anxious. I’m still several thousand dollars short of being fully funded. Despite his current situation not being ideal, it is all he knows so the transition will be difficult and I know he will be overwhelmed and afraid. I look forward to the day that he is home and feels safe and loved. I just hope that everything goes smoothly and the funding comes together, so that I can travel as soon as I’m given permission.
You’ll be seeing fundraisers coming from me over the next couple months. I’m currently selling ornaments through Apparent Project. I just launched t-shirts and a fundraiser through One Mission. I know that not everyone has the means to help. I know that some people may feel like they don’t want to help. That’s ok. All it takes is enough people participating in fundraisers or donating as little as $5 or more – it adds up! I want to bring this baby home!
One Mission – Shop for Christmas gifts!
T-shirts – available in multiple sizes and colors these feature the Chinese character for “love” on them as well as the English word “love” in cursive.
60 days later – LOA!
Technically my official approval date was on Friday, my agency received the hard copy today. This is China’s Letter of Approval, and when I sign to formally accept little dude as my son (there will be more signatures in China, of course).
I’m preparing his care package…
His room is pretty much done:
I have several more steps to complete to satisfy immigration and visa requirements before receiving travel approval (TA). My agency estimates travel in 9-12 weeks – but others say they tend to intentionally overestimate and it could be 6-8 weeks. In order to travel I NEED to be fully funded. Fortunately the majority of things are paid. All that is left is:
Orphanage fee: estimated $5900
Flights: estimated $3000?
In country adoption fees and expenses: estimated $2200?
In country travel costs: estimated $2000-3000?
If you’re able please consider donating or purchasing items through my latest fundraiser with One Mission. They have a lot of unique gifts (hint hint – Christmas gifts) Thank you!
I apologize as this isn’t going to be very interesting, just updates!
My dossier (paperwork/photos/etc) was sent to China on August 12th. China recieved it the following Monday, but it wasn’t logged in (LID) until August 25th.
That marks the beginning of my wait for LOA (letter of approval). I thought this wait would be easier, because I know to expect 30-40 days-ish. Nope, its not. I’m still obsessively checking my email for any news or updates.
After LOA I’ll have to pay my final agency fee then it will be a couple more months until travel. There’s several steps after LOA (I800, I800 approval, etc) which all ultimately lead to Article 5 pick up and drop off then travel approval (TA) and the Consulate Appointment date (CA). Once I have TA and CA I can book flights.
In the meantime I am working on filling out my visa application and I800 application so it can be sent as soon as I get LOA. I’m also scraping together the last agency fee. After the last agency fee its the home stretch with the orphanage fee, in country fees/expenses, and flights.
I’m also attempting more fundraising, although I hate fundraising. I’m so grateful for people who have been able and willing to help! It helped with about 1/3 of the first fee and part of the USCIS fees. My second agency fee I paid with a $2000 grant that I received from Rollstone Foundation and a Marriott credit card because 2 out of 3 hotels in China will be a Marriott so I hope to book with points. My fundraiser right now people have a chance to enter to win gift cards by making a tax deductible donation between $10-50 to my Adopt Together account. I do have one more fundraiser I can try (online auction).
I have two more grant applications that have been sent out – I won’t get them in time for the third fee but I’m hoping they will assist with the orphanage fee and travel costs so I don’t have to delay travel. I can only delay travel up to 3 months after travel approval, and the orphanage fee alone is almost $6000!
I think the waiting is the hardest part of this process – but the cost is another! Most people do not have $30,000 sitting around waiting to be used.
The last of my authenticated documents arrived today!
The whole process has seemed too long for it to look this simple in the end. You create the document, have it notarized, have it certified, send it to be authenticated… after a while you feel like you’ve been stuck on a Merry-Go-Round for 6 months and can’t get off.
After obsessively checking a few times to make sure nothing was amiss, I made photocopies, labelled the photos that I needed to include, and put it all in an envelope with the required fees. I will be hand delivering it to CCAI on Monday! I am crossing fingers that I will be DTC by Friday.
The next wait will be to become DTC (dossier to China), then LID (locked in). Then I will have to wait for LOA (letter of approval). LOA wait times have been quick lately, I hope to receive LOA in September.
I received i800a approval! My approval notice is now on its way to Chicago to be authenticated at the consulate.
Once I get my authenticated items back, I send everything to my agency for critical review and if there is nothing that needs to be fixed, they will send my dossier to China! (DTC)
After DTC I wait for LID, which means China has received my dossier and has locked it in. Then I wait for LOA (letter of approval). LOA waits are taking about a month right now. After LOA it will be about 8-10 weeks until travel!
That means travel could be happening in about 3-4 months. It seems so close and so far at the same time.
Travel is the largest chunk of fees – in addition to saving my own money I’m applying for a couple more grants. I will have one last agency fee ($3100), I will need the orphanage fee (about $5000-6000), in country fees/spending money (about $2000), money for hotels/in country transportation (about $4500… should be less because I can use reward points to book two of the hotels myself), plus money for flights to/from China (about $3000). I will have to cover the in country fees and flights to/from China on my own, grants cannot be used for that.
In addition to the YouCaring site, I’m running a coffee fundraiser! There’s coffee, brewers, and hats/accessories: https://www.justlovecoffee.com/Beneficiary/Profile/4823
Last night I couldn’t sleep. It was hot, I was restless, I just found out I had been denied for a grant and I was feeling a bit down.
I googled “how far is it from Colorado Springs to Luoyang?
Not helping, Google.
I am 6,826 miles from my son. I think most parents panic when their child is out of sight and 6 feet away. This process is long, and while its been relatively smooth (so far, knock on wood) its not without its obstacles and frustrations.
[Pardon the side-rant for a second – but most adoption grants are for people who attend church. Some even go as far as to say that it has to be their definition of a “Bible believing” church, whatever that may be. I do not attend church. I’ve found 5 grants that do not have church/pastor’s letter requirements. Five. I’ve heard of people applying to religious grants and applying to as many as 30].
So far I’ve received a $2000 grant from one, and been denied by another. I have two more applications that I am working on. The fifth one I haven’t heard of anyone receiving so I’m still trying to figure out if it is legit.
And I have an estimated $20,000 left in fees (estimating travel costs). About $3000 of that is due in the next few weeks so my paperwork can be sent to China.
6,826 miles. $20,000. This mountain is looking huge.
I spent the past few weeks with family and friends, which is why I haven’t updated in a while!
My homestudy was approved by the state, and my i800a application was sent to USCIS. I’m expecting to get fingerprinted next week, approval should come a week or two after that.
I received a small grant in June, which is a big help! Hoping to hear from another grant within the next couple of weeks, and I have a few more I can apply for.
I’m also prepping the rest of my paperwork for my dossier, so once my i800a arrives and is sealed (notarized, certified, authenticated) it can be sent to my agency for critical review, and then sent to China. My dossier is due mid-August, so I’m starting to stress out a little! With the dossier comes two more fees – one for my agency and one for the CCCWA in China.
Plans are also underway for setting up little dude’s bedroom! I hope to get it done before school starts in early August. I plan on emptying out the room, painting the walls, and hunting for some child-sized furniture. I will have to upload some pictures once it is done!