We had a good idea that we would receive pre-approval, before we sent in our letter of intent. We did not know though how long it would take.
Fortune smiled on us and PA came on 11 Mar 2011. The statement from China says, ok, we accept your letter of intent. We give you the go ahead to fill out the paperwork required in your country to adopt this child.
That brought us to the task with the reuse of the dossier of getting our home study updated to include our newest member, Star, who had come home in December 2010. There was some hoo haa with our home study agency about doing a new full dossier or just an update. At first they said, no it has to be the whole thing at a rather steep cost against what an update would be.
Ok, we'll look for someone else to do it. Shopping around, one told us - we don't know you so the fee will be this - which was nearly the price of doing a whole new one with those who did know us. We moved on. Finally Catholic Charities out of Nashville said they could do it for around $900. Just as we were about to proceed with that our original home study folks decided they could do an update thereby shaving lots of dollars off Catholic Charities fees - so we went back to our original home study folks.
Never think that something simple can't be made complicated.
When we adopted Star, we had to be fingerprinted by our government, so they could check our fingerprints against criminal databases to make sure we were upstanding citizens and not criminals. Those fingerprints have an expiration date on them of 15 months.
As that time was coming up in August, we would need a renewal of that, in which we would file a form with the United States government. We could not do that though before May and at first it looked as though we would be ready with our home study update before that and have to hold it until we could renew our files.
However, the simple became complicated - we needed new medicals since the ones we had were a year old, we needed proof that since our last home study we hadn't gone and committed a felony or been added to the sexual abuse database. Seems rather straightforward, but as I said previously never think something simple can't be made complicated. Getting in to see our doctors happened fairly quickly but getting the doctors to post their test results correctly was another matter.
The home study update needed some specific language in it or it would be rejected by China. However, we had trouble getting the home study to say those specific words and the home study was rejected by our agency. Finally after much wrangling, we were able to send off our file to the government less than 4 weeks before our fingerprints would expire. I was sweating bullets.
Our paperwork off to the government in July, we got notice of when to go to Atlanta to be fingerprinted. Taking a day from work, we drove down, had lunch and then walked into the place to be fingerprinted a week or so before our appointment, thus buying ourselves back some time lost during the update of the home study. I wrote our immigration officer to let them know we were fingerprinted early and our paperwork was approved by the US Government on 11 Aug 2011, saying ok, we've extended your fingerprints another 15 months, and we agree that you can adopt another child from China. The government sent us a declaration saying this known as the I800A.
Next this paperwork, along with our home study had to be sent to Washington, to the Chinese Embassy to approve of before that approval and other documents could be sent to China. The whole glob of paper went to China on 2 Sep 2011, also known of as Dossier to China or DTC for short, in the lingo of the adoption world. Then we would wait for China to receive it and log it into their paperwork system. This is known of as LID (log in date) and gives adoptive parents a starting point to count from in days or weeks until China approves the adoption of said child by our family.
We received our LID fairly quickly and discovered that date to be 5 Sep 2011. Now the long wait began for the letter from China known as LSC (Letter Seeking Confirmation) or LOA (Letter of Acceptance) where in China says ok, we approve you to adopt this specific child.