Friday, June 15, 2012

LOA and What is Next

After 75 days of waiting (not patiently) we got our Letter of Acceptance from China.   We have been approved to be Bailee's parents.   We were blessed to have it come this quickly as many people lately have been waiting over 100 days.   Our wait for LOA with Taylor was 132 days so I guess it evens out.

It arrived at our agency on Wednesday and they overnighted it to us.   We watched for the FedEx man in order to get a picture.   He probably thinks we are very strange.



We signed the LOA and sent it back to our agency.  It arrived there this morning (Friday).
Many people have asked what is next.   Here are the next steps and the approximate dates we should reach them.

1.  Our I-800 immigration paperwork is being sent by our agency to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services  (USCIS) branch of Homeland Securtiy.  The Form I-800 is our Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. It's our approval from USCIS to adopt the child we were matched with specifically-Bailee.  It should arrive on Monday (6/18). 

Here is what happens next: 
Approximately one week after sending the USCIS Form I-800 and all supporting documents we will receive a Notice of Receipt from the lockbox in Texas. This letter will simply state that our application was received! It will list the date it arrived at the lockbox**** as well as our case number.
After that, our application will be forwarded to the National Benefits Center (NBC) where all I-800 applications are reviewed and approved!!    We should have our approval by July 9.

*****The lockbox is the location where USCIS reviews the Form I-800 application quickly to make sure there aren't any missing pages, unsigned sections of theapplication, etc.. They want to make sure everything is in order before they send the application to the National Benefits Center for approval.

2.  After approving our file, our officer will mail our approval to the National Visa Center by 2nd Day UPS Air. However, the approval isn't always mailed out the same day it's approved, so applications can take up seven days to arrive at NVC. Upon receiving our approval, the National Visa Center (NVC) will enter our information into their computer system.

Within 1-3 business days, the NVC will "cable" (basically emailing/sending electronically) our file to the US Embassy in Guangzhou, China. This is approval of our visa petition.



Upon doing this, the NVC will then mail us a letter stating that our petition has been forwarded to the Embassy.   We hope to be done with this step by July 16.


3.  Once our agency has the NVC letter, they will forward it to their in-China representative. 
The in-China rep will take the NVC letter to the US Embassy in Guangzhou along with our DS-230 application and Parental LOA. The US Embassy only allows representatives to drop off the paperwork on certain days.
The consulate needs to review Bailee's visa application (the DS-230), make sure it meets the qualifications for an immigrant visa, and then signs off that everything is in order for the adoption to be completed. This is called the Article 5 letter. We cannot obtain custody of Bailee until the Article 5 letter is issued!
The consulate takes a standard two weeks to complete this process. If our paperwork is dropped off on a Monday, it will be picked up from the consulate by our agency rep two Mondays later.
Once it's picked up from the consulate, it will be delivered directly to the CCAA for Travel Approval! We hope this step is done by August 6.

4.  Now we wait for China to grant us Travel Approval.   We hope this step can be completed by August 27 however we would love for it to be sooner.

Our prayer is that we can leave for China on either September 6 or 13.   We cannot leave any later than that and still travel in September as all of China celebrates a holiday starting September 30 and ending October 6.   Because we have to do two weeks of appointments in China and we could not do anything that holiday week, we couldn't leave on the 20.   After the holiday and during the whole month of October there is a trade fair in Guangzhou the city where we will be the whole time.   Because of the trade fair the prices for hotels and food almost doubles.   We could still travel then, but it would cost us so much more money.  

We are praying that God would allow us to get our precious baby girl in September.   We ache to hold her in our arms and love on her.

Here are Jordan and Taylor doing the LOA Happy Dance.

video