Moving Along in Adopting: DTC and LID

I shared last time I wrote about our progress toward adopting our next little girl that we were waiting on one last document to come back to us certified so that we could send the rest of our documents to Chicago to be authenticated and then send our dossier to China. It all finally came together, and on Friday, July 29 our agency sent our dossier to China (DTC)!

DTC pic

That dossier-to-China milestone is huge – pulling together all of those documents is such a painstaking, detail-focused, perfectionistic process that it is a gigantic relief to be done with them all!

From there, we waited for our log-in-date (LID). That log-in date is essentially China’s official acknowledgement that they have received our dossier and have it in their system for review. Others who were DTC on the same date as us but with different agencies got their log-in-dates a few days before us, which made those extra days hard, but yesterday we got word that our dossier had been logged in, as well 🙂

LID photo

Now we start what we expect to be the longest wait of the process, the wait for our Letter of Approval (LOA), also known as Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC). That letter is China’s official approval of us as parents for our little girl. It’s basically the most important piece of paper we’ll get through this whole process, and it’s what we’re waiting on now. Sometimes the database system to which our agency has access will have updates on our status through the process of China’s review of our dossier and issuing our LOA – first it will show that our dossier is in process of being translated, then in process of being reviewed, then matched, and then LOA issued. Usually it takes about 60-90 days to receive your LOA, but right now the process is moving pretty quickly, and it’s averaging more like 30-50 days. We’re hopeful that that trend will continue, but you never know what to expect!

So right now, in terms of our official progress through the adoption process, we’re just waiting 🙂 However, we’re using the time to gather additional funds. I’m working on some grant applications, I’ve been working extra hours, and Matt has continued to sell artwork, as well as embarking on a new project – he compiled a whole group of drawings he’d already made of friends of ours from our church and put them into a coloring book, which many of our friends have been delighted to purchase in order to support our adoption!

We’ve also been encouraged to receive an official update on our little girl 🙂 We’re incredibly fortunate that her foster home has a significant Internet presence, so we actually get new photos of her quite frequently, much more frequently than is normal in international adoption, but it was still fun to get new measurements and a bit more new information. She has grown a little over an inch and gained almost 2.5 pounds in the last 5 months since she moved to this foster home, which is awesome! She’s also continuing to develop, sitting for long periods of time unassisted, smiling, laughing, and talking. We’re so thankful for the care she’s getting and loved getting even more of a glimpse into what her life is like now and how we can be preparing for her to join our family in a few months!

an adoption update

I’m ever so grateful for the time this summer has afforded me to focus on moving through the steps toward our adoption of our sweet little baby #4! Over this past month and a half, God has been slowly guiding us forward, one step at a time, in every area.

On June 10 our home study was approved by WACAP! I picked up that precious stack of papers from our social worker and overnighted an official, signed, and notarized copy to WACAP for them to file our I800A application with US Citizenship and Immigration Services. In the adoption world, this form is always just referred to as the “I800A,” but its true full name is “I800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country.” Even though this step is supposed to be something of a formality – your agency and social worker should know whether you’re going to encounter issues or not – every time I see that official label, I feel a twinge of intimidation – what if they determine we’re not suitable?  But on July 8, our officer approved us, and we received the official approval notice on the 14th!

We took a family trip to Jefferson City the next morning to get the rest of our Missouri documents state certified – and, of course, stop for ice cream at Central Dairy, because if you’re that close, how could you pass up that opportunity?!?

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And now we’re just waiting for our one Illinois document to come back from its Secretary of State office. That in and of itself is very frustrating for me – we have had many document issues this time around. We’ve had 2 documents declined at the Secretary of State level, because the notary signed them with a signature that looked nothing like her signature on file with the Secretary of State’s office. One person used a signature stamp instead of actually signing their name (I didn’t even know that was a thing!). A notary forgot to sign their name on one document. Multiple documents had non-matching dates between the signature and the notary. And when this one Illinois document had to be re-done, we had issue after issue after issue in getting the document actually re-done and signed, and now it’s waiting to be certified at the slowest and least sympathetic Secretary of State’s office of which I’ve heard.

But while all of that is frustrating, ultimately we trust in a sovereign, good God, and we press on. Every adoption hits hurdles and delays, and we can’t control any of that, we can only press on in our work. We have all the rest of our dossier documents at our agency or on their way, waiting to be sent to China once the dossier is complete, and tomorrow I’ll put together all the forms for document authentication, so we can send our remaining documents off to Chicago for authentication as soon as we get this one last document back – and that’s the last step before they go to our agency for our dossier to be sent to China 🙂

And meanwhile, I have also been applying for grants. The financial aspect of adoption always involves a leap of faith for me. In neither adoption have we started with all of the money in hand – but we’ve started with a sense of God’s calling to us to adopt, all the savings we could pull together, and a commitment to live frugally so as to be able to come up with as much money as possible ourselves. Thus far we’ve had a grant from our agency cover some costs, and we’ve paid a lot of the costs we’ll incur, primarily in home study fees, placing agency fees, immigration fees, document fees, and postage, and we’ve had every penny we needed on the date we needed it! From a financial standpoint, so far we’ve paid about 40% of the costs we expect to incur in total, with approximately 60% still to come, and we’re trusting that God will provide those funds as needed, as well, both through our savings and earnings (including Matt’s artwork sales) and grants and generous gifts of friends and family, which we so, so appreciate.

And all the while, as we are walking our way through the process on this side of the ocean, our little girl is living life and growing and developing in China! I mentioned recently that she’d broken her femur while playing, which was so sad 🙁 We’re hoping she can stay break-free for a long time now, but we know that’s often not the reality of life with osteogenesis imperfecta, and we’re thankful she’s getting the best care available in China. We can see from the pictures her foster home has been posting that she now has her cast off and is back to sitting independently, eating cucumbers, and modeling different hair bows! We can’t wait to smother her in hugs and kisses – metaphorically of course 🙂 I’m hopeful for December or January travel!