Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Great Room Shuffle

Here we go again with the building and shuffling of rooms in our house, this time to prepare for Lauren. Five years ago we added a door and made my old office into Hannah's Room and moved the office to the back game/tv room. When Amber moved out in January we moved the tv/game room to her old bedroom and then we had an office/library. Well let's see if I can explain the new transitions without too much confusion:

1 - The office/library - we are adding a wall and pocket door and making a room for Cameron. The other half will return to the old Game/TV room.

2 - Cameron's room will be repainted and changed and become Hannah's new room.

3 - Hannah's room will once again become the office.

4 - Amber's old room, now the game/tv room and Cameron's temporary bedroom while we build will become Lauren's room.

Here are some photos:

Building the new walls in Cameron's new room.


Cam's Old Room soon to become Hannah's new room.

Amber's Old Room, Cam's temp room, current game/TV room, soon to be Lauren's Room.


Hannah's current room soon to become the office (again).


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dossier To China!!!

Just received word from FTIA that our dossier completed the review by staff (under goes two independent reviews to ensure accuracy and completeness) and is now on its way to China.

We now will wait for the official Log In Date (LID) and then the formal approval (LOA) from China.  This process can now take anywhere from 1 - 6 months.  We are praying for favor and quick turn-a-round so that we can proceed quickly.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dossier Mailed!

We picked up that last piece of paperwork from the Chinese Consulate this afternoon, the I-797 approval affidavit. Of course that last piece of paperwork presented some challenges as we had it notarized last Friday and when we took it into the County Clerks office for certification the notary's signature was different from his signature card on file (4-year old signature card).  We needed to have him redo the notary and sign the form more like his old signature (luckily he is a friend).  Following the County Clerk Certification we drove to the Secretary of State office in downtown LA for State Certification and then on to the Chinese Consulate for Authentication - after a 2 hour wait we were out and returned today to pick up that document.

The dossier package is off FedEx to FTIA in Evansville, Indiana.  Here is a photo of the paperwork, not included in this photo however are the reference letters, photos of the family and home, copies of passports, documents that indicate we completed our mandatory parent, older child, special needs child, and Hague Adoption training.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Last piece of paperwork for Dossier

We received our I-797 from USCIS today, the acknowledgement of our I-800A approval. With the exception of the notary at the local AAA office once again refusing to notarize adoption documents this time being the statement we need to attach to a copy of the approval we send with our dossier, everything went well, we went down the street to another notary and had the form done - no problem.

Anyway here is the coveted I-797 that all adoptive families wait for, it may not seem like much but is so important to the process and always the final document prior to sending the dossier to China:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I-800a Approval!!!

We spoke with the Officer who is handling our case with USCIS (Immigration) she approved our application for I-800A as soon as she received our fingerprint update last week on August 11, 2010!!!  We are still waiting for the actual document which was mailed last week, hopefully we get that in the mail tomorrow.  Once we have the document we then make a copy, staple a statement that it a true and correct copy of the original, have the statement notarized, get it certified by the county, get it certified by the California Secretary of State, then get the Los Angeles Chinese Consulate to authenticate it.

After we get the authenticated document back we will be sending our entire package that makes up the dossier to our agency located in Indiana. FTIA will review the documents then send them to their Beijing staff to translate and submit to the CCAA in China.

Will keep updating as we move forward!  Please continue to pray for our family, for Lauren and continued favor with both the US and Chinese Governments.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lauren's Home Shanghai China

In order to keep passing the time as we wait for the approval from USCIS (I-800a - Immigration preliminary approval). Here are some photos of Shanghai, the Children's Home, and a map indicating the location of Shanghai.

Shanghai at night:

Children's Home Site Model:

Children's Home Clock Tower:

Buildings at Children's Home:

Map of China with Lauren's location - Shanghai:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Paperwork Process

Picked up the documents we dropped off for authentication at the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles today. For those not familiar with the international adoption process (China Specifically) here are some samples of what we are talking about when we discuss notary, certification, and authentication of documents.

Most people are familiar with a Notary Stamp, each document must be signed with a statement as to the accuracy of the document and notarized.

After the notarization the document needs certification by the Secretary of State:

Following the certification the document is then taken to the Chinese Consulate/Embassy to be authenticated:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fingerprints Done & Medical Update for Lauren

We went to Riverside today for our fingerprints at the USCIS Office, we had great favor and answered prayer: Our appointment was for 9 am we got there in record time with no morning traffic issues, we were both taken in, printed and out before our appointed time, the staff there was great, efficient and friendly!

When we arrived back home we had an e-mail from our agency with an updated medical report on Lauren.  Their previous update stated that they would be following up from this years earlier hospitalization and completed more testing which ruled out her UTI 's being caused by any major medical problems.

Once again we were amazed with her care and detailed reports, they have been providing Lauren textbook care according to our research and doctor's information.  We are so glad she is in Shanghai and has good care from both the nannies and doctors.

Hoping our approval letter from USCIS will be in early next week so we can get our dossier to China.  Tomorrow we pick up the documents we dropped off at the Chinese Consulate in LA.

Please continue to pray for favor and quick turn-around on our paperwork from the two governments, for Lauren's continued health, and for a quick and safe trip.  (we would love to be going to China around Christmas like we did for Hannah 5-years ago).

Monday, August 9, 2010

Los Angeles Chinese Consulate and La Brea "Tar" Pits

Today we took a trip into downtown Los Angeles to drop off 10 of our documents for authentication at the Chinese Consulate.  The wait was about an hour and a half and we go back on Thursday to pick them up. Only one last document (the USCIS I-800a approval) fingerprints for that on Wednesday and hopefully the approval will be done quickly.

While in LA we took a trip to the La Brea "Tar" Pits (I have to add the " " as the kids reminded us the Brea is Spanish for tar which means if we say La Brea Tar Pits as commonly called, we are really saying The Tar Tar Pits).  It was the first time visit for Kevin, Cameron and Hannah and Lynda has not been there since her school days.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Paper Chase End In Sight

Today we received 10 documents that were submitted to the California Secretary of State for Certification, one more step for them is to now go to the Chinese Consulate in LA for Authentication.  For those not familiar with the process: all of our paperwork needs to have a notarization or official seal, e.g. a birth certificate needs to have the local government seal showing it is a true copy, our medical and criminal checks need to be notarized indicating that the person signing the document is the doctor who examined us and the sheriff who is certifying our clearance.  These documents then all go to the state to have the notary's signature or government seal certified as being correct and valid at the time of signing. After this the documents then go to the local consulate where they are authenticated, this is where the consulate indicates that the State Certification is correct and valid.  After getting the Authentication the documents are then ready to send to China.

The only document left is to receive our approval from USCIS (Immigration) which we then copy and attach a notarized statement that this is a true copy, then sent to be certified and authenticated.

For the record:

1- document with US Dept of State Certification and Chinese Embassy in Washington DC Authentication.  (Lynda's Birth Certificate)

1- document with Pennsylvania Sec of State Certification and Chinese New York Consulate Authentication. (Kevin's Birth Certificate)

10 - documents with California Sec of State Certification and Chinese Los Angeles Consulate Authentication. (medical forms, criminal checks, financials, etc.)

1 - document to go!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Care Package on the Way.

Since Lauren is an older child and will understand (and most likely more concerned) about what is going on when we arrive to pick her up we (Lynda) decided to send a small care package that has a few small gifts for her and the staff.  One thing we sent was a pillow she can use that has a picture of our family so she will get a chance to see what we look like so maybe we won't look so strange to her on "Gotcha Day".  We used a service called Red Thread China with a woman named Ann who lives on ShaMien Island in Guangzhou, this is where the White Swan Hotel is located and we stayed there when we were doing Hannah's U.S. Consulate paperwork, we may be staying there again this next time.

Here are some photos that were sent by Ann of the package, which should hopefully arrive in Shanghai on Tuesday morning.