We know the adoption process is a very confusing thing and many of you are wondering what comes next or what all this even means. I'd like to try to explain exactly where we are in the process and what comes next.
This week we were "matched" with a little girl and China granted us PA (pre-approval). This is not the final approval in the process, but it does tell us that after preliminary review of our dossier documents, China found no reason we could not adopt this Little One. This is a huge milestone! It also directly links our dossier to this child's file. No one else can review her file or inquire about her. She has our name attached to her and essentially, she is ours in the computer system.
What does PA do? It moves us up in the adoption process. No longer are we a prospective adoptive family just hanging out in the queue of hundreds of other adoptive families. We are a family matched with a waiting child and we get to jump up in line to get things processed.
What are we waiting for now? We are currently in what is called the LOA wait (Letter of Acceptance). The Letter of Acceptance is an even more formal document indicating China has translated all of our documents, reviewed them, compared them to this child's needs, and officially agrees we are the right match for her. The LOA wait is long. We have seen families moving at various speeds through this process, but I know a lot of that speed depends on the needs of your child, if you have reason to medically expedite the process, and whether you were matched with the child prior to LID or after LID. There are lots of factors. With all those factors in mind, we have seen people go through the LOA wait in 60 days and some take 100+ days. Our social worker gave us a general guideline of about 3 months. The LOA wait is the hardest. We are here, on the brink of going to get her, and yet, China has not invited us to come get her yet. We see her face and watch videos and know she is ours, and still, we wait.
When do you think you will get to travel to get her? Everything at this point is an estimate (hasn't all of it been an estimate?!). We realized this week that estimates are great to work from, but not evidence of precisely what to expect. God can, and will, move mountains when He sees fit. We were given the estimate of 6-9 months from the time of LID to referral. We got a referral four days after we were LID. We were given the estimate of two weeks to get PA. We got it in 24 hours. Anything is possible. All that aside, we'll talk about the estimates we've been given. We have the LOA wait ahead of us and that is approximately three months. That puts us in early December (that would be a wonderful birthday gift!!). After we get LOA, we have to wait on TA (Travel Approval). This takes typically about 2-3 more months, which puts us somewhere in the February or March range for travel. We do have some very specific prayer requests regarding this timeline. February also happens to be the month China celebrates Chinese New Year. It is the biggest holiday of the year and the government shuts down for many days of celebration. This year, Chinese New Year will be on February 19. This could cause delay for us...either in processing the final bit of paperwork to get us to TA or in our travel plans altogether. We know God has a plan and timed all of this precisely and we know if we wait through Chinese New Year, He has purpose in it. Chris' vacation schedule also rolls over in late March. While our hearts desire is to get there as quickly as possible (prior to her 2nd birthday would be HUGE!), we also need to be certain Chris will have enough time off to travel and spend some time adjusting at home as well. We are certain God knew about all this and is working this into His plan for our journey.
Will you be able to share a picture of her? Yes! We are in the process of securing photos of her that we can have printed and carry with us to share with people. We also have permission to post her photo to our blog, but we are still considering this. While everyone is so excited to meet her (and we are beyond excited to introduce you to her!), we also need to be wise and understand that someday this blog will be a keepsake to her. We want to be sensitive to her and what her heart might desire. Hopefully in the next day or so I will have a hard copy of a photo and I do have a "photo of a photo" on my phone. If you see me in church or out and about, please, do not hesitate to ask to see! I am thrilled to share her!
How can you pray for us? There are many ways!
- Pray for our daughter: That she is safe where she is, that her caretakers give her excellent care and love, that her heart will be prepared to meet us soon, that her nutritional needs are met, and that she will be able to quickly bond and attach with our family.
- Pray for our current children: That they will be prepared for a new sibling, that they will be able to share their things and their parents in a whole new way, that they will overflow with love and compassion for their new sister.
- Pray for us: That we will lay the groundwork needed to meet her medical needs when she gets home, that we will find many resources to help us prepare to care for her, that our hearts will be open and ready for bonding and attachment to occur, that we will experience peace in this leg of the journey and understand God has all of us in the palm of His hand right now.
- Finances: Pray God would continue to provide. We are in the home stretch and nearing the end of our financial commitment to this adoption, but we have not crossed the finish line yet. Pray His provision would continue and we are continually able to give glory to Him!