Back on June 15th, our much-anticipated I171-H arrived from Immigration - the document that basically stated that we were pre-approved by the government to bring a child into the United States for the purpose of adoption. Unfortunately, I was still in New England with the girls while work was being done on the house, and didn't return home until July 9th. The following week, I gathered everything together, made all the necessary photocopies, and on Friday, July 14th, left Hannah and Rachel with my dear friend Carrie (thanks again, Carrie!), and took Abbie into Chicago with me to get the State of Illinois and Chinese Consulate seals on all 16 (count 'em!) documents. Abbie and I actually had a lovely time together, though it did take all day (and lots of cash for the parking garages!). Our visit to the Consulate office was particularly memorable. The woman at the window who processed my request expressed her surprise at how organized all the paperwork was and how well prepared I was with everything we could have possibly needed. She commented that it must have been becuase I had adopted from China once before (since Abbie was with me). When I told her this was actually our fourth adoption from China, she nearly fell over. She said something like, "Wow, you must really like children!" An understatement, to be sure!
...we made it to the Chinese Consulate before they closed at 2:30 (yikes!).
Anyway, we were due to receive the documents back via FedEx on Friday, July 21st. Since I was going to be driving Hannah to Chinese camp that morning, I signed the release allowing the package to be left without a signature. On the way home from dropping Hannah off, I called the FedEx 800 number and got the message that the package had indeed been delivered that morning. I got home and immediately looked for it. No package! Not at the front door, not at the back, not in the garage, not in the shrubs... nowhere!!!!! I questioned the two men hanging drywall and they said the plumber had been by and picked up somthing - I don't think they really understood what I was asking them as English was not their first language. I immediately called our contractor and left a frantic message asking him if we could track down this plumber and see if he had seen the package. I was frantic - it had taken us a year to gather these documents, not to mention the doctor appointments and bloodwork for the medical records, and all the gyrations we had to go through to get Al's employment letter from New York. I was at the point of hysteria when my cell phone rang. It was the contractor, who said he was there when FedEx dropped off the package, and he had assumed it was for Al and put it on his desk! There it was! Thank you, Lord, thank you! Now I could breathe again...
So that weekend I put together the four pages of photos depicting family life (only four?), used up a tree's worth of paper photocopying everything (so glad we have a copier at home - I used to have to schlep everything to Kinko's!), and on Monday, put the girls in the car and drove to Sunny Ridge to deliver the completed dossier. The following Saturday, we received a letter from Sunny Ridge informing us that our dossier had been mailed to China, along with seven others, on Thursday, July 27th. That's our DTC (Dossier To China) date. A few weeks later we learned that our dossier was officially logged in at the China Center for Adoption Affairs on August 14th (our LID, or Log In Date).
And so now we wait... Right now, it's taking about 14 months for referrals to come in from the time dossiers are sent. That time could get longer or shorter, we simply don't know. It took 7 months to get Hannah's referral, 14 months to get Rachel's, and 5 1/2 to get Abbie's, so it's anyone's guess how long it will take for Sarah's to come in. In the mean time, we have three sweeties already with us who keep us incredibly busy, and I think that, in the long run, the wait will go pretty quickly for us.
The completed dossier all laid out (note the photo of the happy Mama and Daddy!)
Consider what went into it, the entire dossier doesn't look like much when it's all stacked up like this!
The girls give each other a Sister Love hug in the little play house on the Sunny Ridge grounds, just moments after dropping Sarah's dossier off!