Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
We have been "pre-approved" to adopt a beautiful, 14-month-old little girl in China!
I realize that I have some catching-up to do, so let me rewind a bit! Last month Paul and I made the decision to get on the Special Needs list with China. We had agreed awhile ago that we would do this eventually, but we had thought that we would wait until we moved again so that we could give the domestic adoption a chance. Then we heard from our agency about the new SN program, and how successful it has been for them. Since, with the SN program, our agency makes the match instead of waiting for China, we were told that things could move much more quickly. Paul and I did a lot of talking and decided that now was the time; we would go ahead and get on the SN list, as well as the NSN (Non-Special Needs) list that we were already on, as well as the domestic list, and see which path would lead us to our child.
Since our paperwork is already logged in and reviewed with China, in order to get on the SN list we only had to fill out a checklist of the special needs that we were comfortable with. We also asked for a baby, 18 months or younger. We sent in our checklist on March 19th, then began the process to update our homestudy here in California so that our paperwork would be up-to-date in the event that we were to get a referral.
Fast forward to last Wednesday (April 21st, right about one month after submitting our SN checklist). We got a phone call at 6:45 a.m. to tell us that our agency had matched us with an amazing baby girl who, other than a cleft lip and palate, is completely healthy and perfect! We read through all of her information and looked at her beautiful pictures, and we immediately knew that she was our little Caitlin. That night I e-mailed our agency our LOI (Letter of Intent to adopt), then we waited to hear back from China.
Today we got our PA (Pre-Approval)!! This means that China is pleased with the match our agency made last week, and they agree that we meet the basic requirements. Our dossier has now been moved from the NSN line to the SN line, and they will review it once again to make sure that we are fit to adopt a child with special needs (which we have more than proven that we are, so we are not too worried!)
More news is to come... I can't post her picture yet or give too much of her personal information until it's official, but I can tell you that she is absolutely precious and we are already completely in love with her! Once we get that LOA (Letter of Approval), she will be our little Caitlin!! Don't worry- I'll keep you posted!!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Sorry I haven't posted in awhile, but I've been BUSY with our homestudy!!
The first step in re-doing our homestudy for the state of California was to apply with a homestudy agency. The application process meant a big pile of paperwork, copies of birth and marriage certificates, and an initial interview with our new social worker. It took us about 5 days to complete this first step, about one month ago.
Then we moved on to the homestudy step. This required an even bigger pile of paperwork:
*A packet of questions for me to fill out,
as well as an identical one for Paul
(questions ranged from our family background,
our life growing up, our greatest weaknesses/strengths,
etc. etc.), and one combined packet of questions
about our marriage and home life, and how we intend
to raise a child, among other things.
*Background checks from each and every state in which
we have lived since we were 18 (which for me was
relatively easy- only 4; Paul's end was considerably
more complicated with 10 different clearances needed)
*Fingerprints- again- for background checks with the FBI
*Financial statements and copies of IRS statements
*Job verification letter from the Navy
*Copies of passports and drivers licenses
*Proof of CPR certification
*Character reference letters
*A long, 4- hour home visit with our social worker
*And lots and lots of forms to sign, releasing every
agency and company in this hemisphere from absolutely
all fault of everything (sorry Dad, I had to do it, and
no, using a black marker to cover over parts was not
Phew! We just completed this part of the process on Friday with the home visit. Now we can move on to Step 3: finishing up our education requirements (an online course on possible medical issues, as well as a required book and several recommended books), and an all-day workshop on attachment on May 1st. I'm actually very thankful for all the training; it has been invaluable. I just wish all teenagers had to have such training before being allowed to date. Perhaps we would not have the current problems with teen pregnancies...
I am also beginning the 4th step, which is to, again, get clearance from USCIS (Immigration) to bring an "immigrant" into the country. It's called the I-800A, and those of you who have been along on our journey since the beginning remember what a pain this part was last time. I am not looking forward to this part, but one must do what one must do! We cannot apply until our homestudy is complete (which will not happen until we finish our education requirements), but I can begin the stack of required paperwork now so we will be ready.
After all our paperwork is submitted, we just sit and wait. The I-800A process took us several months last time, and there is nothing you can do to speed it up.
I did want to take a moment to thank all of you who have helped us with this journey so far; whether you graciously filled out grueling character references for us, or gave us a pep talk just when we needed it to help keep us going, or prayed for us, or even just followed along with us through our blog or talking to us in person (it tells us that you care), we sincerely appreciate it. Our family and friends have just been wonderful, and honestly, I don't think we could have made it this far without you all. We cannot wait until the day when we can introduce you all to little Caitlin, and we will tell her all about how much she was loved, by so many people, before we even knew who she was!