Friday, June 20, 2014

Dossier Panic - Next Stop Birmingham!

I had a brief moment of dossier panic today.  I got online and checked our tracking number and it indicated our documents had been delivered via UPS ground at 8:39 this morning.  I checked the signature name and I did not recognize it, so I called our social worker.  No answer.  No problem, I know she is busy with other clients. I sent her an e-mail and then I call the main office line to see if perhaps the office manager can confirm receiving the package this morning.  No answer.  My call rings through to the main switch board in the Birmingham office.  I ask her if she can see if anyone is in the Louisville office.  No answer.  So I sat.  In limbo.  And tried hard not to think about all the horrible, no good, very bad things that could happen to that run of the mill envelope of original documents that took months to procure.  Thankfully the Lord only tested me a brief time and I received an e-mail about ten minutes later from our social worker.  They were in meetings all day and yes, she has received it.

"Yes I have your dossier! I'll be preparing it to go out and will confirm with you when it goes to Birmingham! Should be today or Monday. I will overnight it via FedEx and also confirm with you when it arrives."
She will review it and place it back into yet another overnight shipping envelope and send it via FedEx to agency headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama.  She said she hopes to ship it overnight either late today or Monday (I'm guessing likely Monday so she has plenty of time to review all of it).  Once there, it will sit with the China director and await authentication once our USCIS approval comes in!

Safe travels, dossier!  This is going to be one well traveled set of documents by the time they make it to China! 

Letting Go

Yesterday I took a folder full of really important, really hard to get, really expensive documents, photos, and fees in a run of the mill manila folder and placed it in a run of the mill UPS Ground shipping envelope.  We've had some of these documents in our possession for close to a year and now off they go.  I didn't expect to have butterflies and fears as I checked and rechecked addresses, but I did.  We've let our dossier go and this is likely the last time we will see those documents until they arrive in China.  For now, they have a much shorter (and hopefully safer) trip just across the state to Louisville, Kentucky and they ought to arrive at our agency today, prior to close of business.

Once our social worker receives them, she will review them and ensure they meet all the standards required for China.  She'll hold it until we send her notification of our approval by USCIS (her last approval was just 53 days and we are somewhere around day 21!).  Once she gets that, she will authenticate all our documents and to China!

This week we also received notification from USCIS for our biometrics (fingerprints) appointment part of the process.  We will go to the nearest center, which is Cincinnati.  We will have that appointment on Wednesday of next week.  This is all part of the immigration approval process, so we are thankful we have our appointment coming up so soon!

Really at this point, we are so close to done on our end, as far as hoops to jump through.  We go to the biometrics appointment and then we do a looooooot of waiting till we are DTC (dossier to China) or waiting on referral.  I can't decide if I will be relieved to be done with the paper chase part of this or if the waiting will actually be harder than fighting for very specifically worded and created documents.  Only time will tell.

For now, I am refreshing my UPS tracking number to watch my documents move and watching e-mail for confirmation from our social worker that the documents have arrived!  This is all part of the process and part of God's process for me.  I needed to let go of those really important pieces of paper and trust that God will provide for us, even when we are so completely out of control.  there is nothing in this adoption process we are in control of.  Thankfully, it all rests neatly in His hands and I am so thankful His plan is so much better than my own.

Good-bye dossier!  Travel safe!  One BIG step closer to you, Little One!

Friday, June 13, 2014

D is for Dossier

This week we received "official" notification from USCIS that our I800A application and supporting documentation was received and sent off for further processing.  We now await notification of our biometric appointments where we will have super duper fancy fingerprinting done in Cincinnati, OH (the closest processing place for us).  Our social worker indicated the I800A approvals are ranging in the 60-90 day time frame right now.

While we wait on all of that, we are gathering all the documents we will need for our dossier.  Last weekend I started gathering each item we would need and discovered we lacked very few!  What is a dossier?  According to the dictionary, it is a complete file containing detailed information about a person or topic.  The dossier contains "official" documentation about our family that we will send to China so they can get a good understanding of who we are.  Here is a glimpse of what we will send:
  1. Certified copies of birth certificates of each adoptive parent
  2. Certified copy of marriage license
  3. Original signed/dated medical exam and letter of approval for each adoptive parent
  4.  Signed/dated original statements from law enforcement of criminal background clearance for each parent
  5. Financial statement-signed/dated in original form
  6. Employment verification-signed/dated in original form for each applicant
  7. Our home study
  8. USCIS Immigration approval
The list also includes "other" supporting documents:
  1. 7-10 photos of family, home, and lifestyle--mounted and with captions on all
  2. Photo copies of passports
  3. 4 passport photos of each applicant
  4. Signed/dated reference letters in original form
I am pretty sure I missed a few things on the list, but this is just to give you an idea of what sorts of documents we are chasing.  I am happy to report that as of this moment, we lack only the mounted family photos and the 4 passport photos of each of us!  We hope to knock it out this weekend!

You will notice this list includes lots and lots of things in "original" form or "certified" form.  This is where I will be on pins and needles the day I drop the envelope full of all this hard work in the mail to our social worker! It cannot get lost in the mail!  This represents weeks and months of time and effort and a good bit of financial investment as well.  Once it arrives to our social worker, she will check all of it to ensure it meets the requirements for China.  She will hold it until our immigration approval arrives and once we receive that, she will begin the authentication process for us (we are so blessed our agency authenticates our dossier for us--saves us lots of work and running to Frankfort--and ensures it is done correctly!!).  Once authenticated, they upload it to China's system and mail it.  Once the upload is complete, we are considered D-T-C (Dossier to China).  We are eager for that to happen, because then we can be LID (logged in date) and start waiting for that referral!!

So....timeline?  All rough estimates:
  • USCIS approval-Our application was received on May 30th, so about 60-90 days from then....August would be the latest.  Our social worker will have our dossier in hand prior to receiving our approval.
  • Dossier authenication-It takes about 2-4 weeks the way our agency handles about September at the latest.
  • Upload to China and DTC- late September at the latest.
  • Logged in Date-about 3-4 weeks after DTC, so October at the latest.
  • Referral ranges and depends largely on our requirements and whether or not we accept our first referral.  A very rough estimate is 6-9 months after LID.  April at the earliest is my guess.
  • TA-I have no idea once we get our referral how long we'll wait for travel authorization.  Trying hard not to let myself look too far ahead or put too much weight in a timeline.  All indications are a finalized adoption in late 2015 or early 2016 at this point, but we all know nothing ever goes according to plan.  God may shock us in this department!
Pray with us now that we can quickly assemble the few remaining documents we need and pray that our documents will arrive without issue along the lost or missing documents!  Pray our immigration approval comes sooner than 90 days!

I get excited just thinking about it!

Monday, June 2, 2014


As of May 30, 2014, we had confirmed FedEx tracking that our I800A, home study, fee, and supporting documents were received at USCIS in Texas.  We can start the clock on waiting for our approval.  Our social worker said her most recent application was approved in 60 days and she has another family nearing the 60 day mark right now and they have yet to hear, we'll stick with the 50-90 day range for processing and approval to occur.  Please continue to pray as we gather our dossier documents.

On Wednesday of this week I will have a scheduled phone call with our social worker to piece by piece review each document we will need to complete our dossier.  Many of the items we already have, but we will need to be sure every i is dotted and every t is crossed prior to sending for authentication and then off to China.  Thirteen documents and each one very, very important.  Pray we do not misplace documents and that we are able to obtain those we lack with relative ease.

We thank you for the continued prayers.  I cannot begin to tell you what a joy it is to tell someone when they ask where we are in the adoption process, "We are waiting on US Immigration approval to adopt!"  It feels so much better than, "Well, we're STILL in the home study process."

God is good and He is showing us His might each step of the way!  Thank you for praying us through.