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Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Steps involved in the adoption process

For all of those who are wondering just how the adoption process works, here's a little explanation of the steps involved.

  1. First, you talk to a social worker and decide how you want to adopt. There are two options- domestic adoption and international adoption. We looked at both options. Believe it or not, we are really too old to qualify for domestic adoption. Most agencies seem to push open adoption or at least that seems to be the most common. Most couples must be in their 30's to adopt domestically. That is one reason we chose international. Once we chose international adoption, then we picked which country we wanted to adopt from. Most countries have different regulations and restrictions which you must meet. We chose China because we meet the age restrictions and also because their government's adoption policies are very regimented. No surprises or bribing of judges etc. They treat all adoptive parents equally. The babies are usually healthier and have more medical history than babies adopted from other countries. So we know we will more than likely adopt a healthy girl between the ages of 7 months to 24 months. That is what we qualify for.

  2. After we spoke with a social worker from Lutheran Family and Children Services (LFCS) here in town, they directed us to an agency which deals with Chinese adoptions. We chose Chinese Children Adoption International (CCAI). They deal only with Chinese adoptions and are very well known with the Chinese government. They will take care of the international comings and goings.

  3. Next we sent our application in to CCAI and were approved to be their clients. Now the real paperwork begins.

  4. We needed to compile our dossier (I think this is a French term for "butt-load of paperwork") which consists of many documents which all must be notarized, certified by the secretary of state where the document originated and then they must be authenticated by the Chinese consulate for our region (which is in Chicago). The documents we needed to get were birth certificates, marriage certificates, police clearance reports, passports, employment verification, an income statement, physical exams, an adoption petition and a home study which was done by our local agency, LFCS. The home study consists of a social worker inspecting every aspect of your lives from you income to your pet's vaccinations to your functioning smoke detectors in your home. They examine you through a magnifying glass. We also needed to apply for qualification from the US government to adopt an orphan from China and another background check and fingerprinting by the US dept. of immigration This form is called a I171-H. This is the golden ticket to the adoption process. Once we got this form, (which is a real pain because you have to deal with the US immigration office and believe me, they are not in any big hurry to accommodate you) then we sent all of these things to CCAI.

  5. CCAI takes everything from here. They check all of your documents to make sure they are worded properly and contain accurate information that the Chinese government will need. Once the dossier passes critical review then they translate all documents from English to Chinese. They send the dossier to China and once China receives the dossier, they log you in. This is the precious log-in-date or LID. This date puts us "in line" to receive our baby. There are many people who are logged in. They match children with the next adoptive parents who are "in line". So it is kind of first come, first serve in a way. There are not as many children available as there are dossiers that are logged in. Now, the wait from log in to match is about 18 months. We expect that as we continue on, the wait will get longer by the time we are matched with our daughter. We are probably looking at around a 2 year wait.

Here is our time-line so far:

  • Our application was approved by CCAI 8/2/06

  • Our dossier was finished and received by CCAI on 2/2/07 (yes, it takes that long to get the paperwork together)

  • Our dossier was mailed to China on 2/6/07

  • Our log in date or LID is 2/25/07

Now here is the kicker, you remember that I171-H? Well, that form has to be valid throughout the waiting period and our trip to China to pick up our daughter. The waiting period is going to be over 18 months. The I171-H expires 18 months after you receive it. So before we go to China, we will have to renew that form which means that we will have to be re-fingerprinted, update our home study and have another physical (and of course pay the government another fee for the form).

Our fingerprints expire on 2/9/08 and our I171-H expires 7/9/08. We will be travelling hopefully sometime toward the end of 2008.

This is our pregnancy period. No physical side effects but a lot more paperwork and hoops to jump through. I prefer to call it paper pregnancy. I don't have swollen ankles but I think I have carpal tunnel from all of the paperwork we have filled out.

Now you know how it works...

Thanks for checking out the blog.

By the way, we think we are going to change the spelling of Rileigh to Ryleigh. We are still playing around with the idea. What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know.

Kelley & Dwaine

Friday, March 30, 2007

A poem

We Are So Blessed.

We have the opportunity to pray and wait and plan and hope and dream and work for our child. Circumstances don't allow us to take our child for granted - ever. We do all these things for so long and at such great emotional cost, that when our child is finally in our arms, we truly cherish every minute. Every second...

We are blessed to be in our child's life. We are blessed that God planned for us to be a family, and that we were given the opportunities that brought us together. We get to see all the best parts of mankind in our wonderful children. All the goodness and potential and innocence and ambition and confidence and love. And what a beautiful sight that is...

We are blessed to have run this race. It is long and, very often, it is practically impossible to complete. But we run anyway, and believe in ourselves and our child enough to do the impossible. We run, knowing that at the end of this great race, a child is waiting for a chance at a wonderful life. And we get to be the ones to give her that life.

We are blessed that when our child laughs, we are the ones to hear it. And when our child cries, we are the ones she looks for. When our child feels pain or joy or accomplishment or excitement, she shares it with us.We are so blessed to have had the chance to see life from a different angle. To see that things don't always go as you planned them out in the 5th grade- but that better things are in store. To be part of the few who feel constantly misunderstood. To be one who always has to be on guard against the rude and ignorant comment. To feel the frustration of not having the perfect comeback to that comment until three hours later. Our kids can use those experiences and lessons we have learned. We are deeper, stronger, more compassionate people because of this journey. And the world our children live in is better because we have grown in these ways.

Our child is blessed. She is patted and hugged and nestled and rocked and kissed and squeezed and taught and tickled and corrected and praised. She is told of her value in God's eyes. She is certain of her value in our eyes. And she never wonders if she will be cared for tomorrow or the next day...she sleeps comfortably each night, safe in our care.

We should tell our children we are proud. We have saved and scrimped, prayed and begged, planned and schemed, worked and worried, and hoped endlessly for them. We have dedicated years of our lives to finding them and bringing them home to their forever family. And we have given our whole hearts to them even before we ever saw that precious face.Now that is love. And parents who adopt know all about that...

Author unknown

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What I've read...

Here is a little something I read which was written by someone from another state that belongs to the same on-line adoption group that I do. It is written to prove a point that adoptive parents should feel as much like parents as those who actually give birth to their children. Those of us who are unable to have our own biological children still mourn the loss of that part of our lives. I am having a much easier time with it now but sometimes I still think about it. This describes the feeling of being an adoptive parent perfectly.

Anyway, here you go.

No we don't have (our wives) belly's that get bigger by the minute.
No we don't have elbows, feet and little fists pounding our (wives) insides.
No we don't have ultrasound pictures showing us our child's development by the month.
But we are Moms (Dad's).
We are Moms (Dads) when we are getting to know our child in a country where no one speaks the same language as us.
We are Moms (Dads) the second they hand us our child in a hotel conference room.
We are Moms (Dads) when we are carefully packing medication, clothing and diapers for the child we haven't met yet.
We are Moms (Dads) when we receive the phone call that we have been matched with a baby and view the first picture of our little girl.
We are Moms (Dads) when we celebrate our LID.
We are Moms (Dads) when we are excited to FINALLY receive our I-171h or I-797c in the mail.
We are Moms (Dads) when we tirelessly collect, notarize, certify and authenticate every aspect of ourselves.
We are Moms (Dads) when a Social Worker inspects our home, and spends hours asking us about our personal lives.
We are Moms (Dads) when we make the decision to adopt.
We are Moms (Dads) the first time we even have a thought about that child who will someday be ours.
We are Moms (Dads) even though most of our friends and family around us don't understand why a piece of paper or a Fed Ex package is as exciting to us as an ultrasound, or a positive pregnancy test.
We are Moms (Dads) who are madly in love with a baby we have not met.
We are Moms (Dads) who excitedly check email, Yahoo Groups and Blogs everyday to share this experience with other's around the country and world who are doing it too.
We are Moms (Dads) that cry in front of our computer screens when we hear that someone is DTC, LID, has gotten a referral, is leaving for China, or has experienced Gotcha Day!
We are Moms (Dads) to some baby out there who may be in a foster home, an orphanage, in her birth mother's belly growing, or that hasn't even been conceived yet.
WE ARE MOMS (Dads)!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I've been thinking...

I have been thinking about the long wait ahead. Here's what we are going to do to pass the time.

  • Installing new kitchen cabinets

  • Remodeling the basement and adding a bedroom downstairs where Ryan will sleep. We will also install a massive closet and a shower downstairs. The baby will stay in Ryan's old room

  • Fixing up the baby's room (in pink of course)

  • Travelling - which we all know you can't do very easily with a toddler.

  • A lot of reading

  • A lot of eating out

  • A lot of dates on Saturday nights

  • Going to movies other than those that have Disney themes

I figure there will be almost 2 years worth of time to take up while we are waiting. I have been doing a lot of reading about China and the culture. Very interesting. I have also met some new friends along the way. There are a few other couples that I have gotten to know on-line who are using the same agency and social worker we are using. We all also have log-in dates that are within 6 months of each other. I figure when we get back, our daughters will be the same age and maybe even attend the same school.

Also, since we have started this blog, if you haven't figured out by now, we are going to name her Rileigh. I thought Riley was too plain and some boys have that name also. I thought it might be a better name for a girl if we mix up the spelling a little bit. However Dwaine likes the spelling Ryleigh better. I think I agree. What do you all think? You can all vote on it.

Until later...

Kelley & Dwaine

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The beginning of a long wait...

This is a story of the beginning of a long journey; a journey to our daughter who has not even been born yet. Dwaine and I have been looking into adoption for quite a while now and the first of August this year, we were approved by CCAI to adopt a little girl from China. So far, our journey has consisted of a LOT of paperwork. We have had to prove ourselves as worthy parents through police background checks. We have had to pay a hefty sum of money and provide proof of our employment and income. We have had to get permission from the U.S. immigration office and the Chinese government. We have jumped through hoops and done the paperwork polka for the last 7 months.

Finally, we have been approved and provided a log-in-date. That is the official word from the Chinese government that they have received all of the necessary documents and placed us "in line" behind a vast sea of others who have been placed "in line" also. The minimum amount of time that we will be waiting will be at least 18 months but probably longer. So now we are in a holding pattern until we hear from China that it is time to go. We will travel to China to get our daughter and bring her home to us.

I look at it as being pregnant for the time it will take to have two children without the morning sickness, weight gain, swollen ankles, etc. No physical symptoms, just twice the wait.

Anyway, we will keep you posted on our journey and hopefully this will be a way for us to keep in contact while we are actually in China.

Until later...

Kelley & Dwaine