Thursday, July 29, 2010

Got another good fortune today:

Friday, July 23, 2010

One More Check in the Box!

Our letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) did in fact arrive today, right on schedule! However, since our mail does not come until after 2 PM (which is after 5 PM in Kentucky, where our agency is located), it will probably be delivered to the proper authorities in China on Thursday instead of Monday. But hey, at this point I'm just thrilled that it came, on time, and without being lost or misplaced. I didn't have to spend hours calling and/or e-mailing multiple people to try to track it down; it came on its own- and on time! This is progress.

The purpose of this letter is simply to inform us that the NVC has received our application for Caitlin's Visa, and everything is on its way to the Consulate in Guangzhou... We are on the downward slope of our journey!

Monday, July 19, 2010

(Somewhat) Encouraging News

I spoke to our agency today, and I'm feeling a little more hopeful now! I e-mailed them this morning to ask if they could give even a vague estimate as to when we might expect to travel. They actually called right back to discuss it with me. They said that, of course, it depends on many, many things, but:

*The letter that we are now waiting for from the NVC, or National Visa Center (concerning Caitlin's Visa) should arrive about a week from when we got our I-800. That means it should come this Friday.
*Our agency has people in China who actually deliver the paperwork in person, but they are only allowed to come on Mondays and Thursdays.
*Once our letter from the NVC arrives, I will scan it and e-mail it to our agency. They have already sent the rest of our paperwork to China (I sent it to them weeks ago, since these last 2 pieces do not need original copies so they can be e-mailed or faxed), so once our agency forwards our copy of the letter from NVC, our agency's people in China can take it all and hand-deliver it.
*However, our agency has to have the e-mail before they close on Friday in order to forward it to China in time to have them deliver it on Monday. Our agency is in Kentucky; we're in California (3 hours behind), and our mail usually doesn't come until after 2 PM our time (5 PM Kentucky time). This means our paperwork will most likely not be delivered to the proper authorities in China until Thursday.
*Once the proper authorities have our paperwork, it is about a 7-week wait to TA, or Travel Approval. TA means that all of our paperwork is set and in order, and our agency can request a consulate appointment for us.
*Once we have our consulate appointment, it is about 2 weeks to travel.
So our agency did the math and said that, as of right now, we would be traveling on October 7th. HOWEVER, October is a tricky month! The entire country shuts down for the first week of October, until the 7th, then there is one week free, but then the last 2 weeks of October is the Trade Fair in Guangzhou, which is where the American consulate is. Our agency said that this really only affects us in one way, but it's pretty major: the hotels fill up and it's very hard to get a room. And even if you can find a room, you're going to pay dearly for it! So it is actually possible to travel in October, but not very easy.

So all this is just to say that there is a small chance that we could travel in early October, an even smaller chance that we can still get in in September, but probably most likely that we will have to wait until the first week of November. Of course, this is all still a huge guessing game at this point, but it's nice to at least have an idea- and to know that we are at least back on track!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Our I-800 FINALLY came today in the mail! Sure, it's a week and a half late, but who's counting? I'm just relieved that it's here, and now we can move on to the next step.

The I-800 provisionally approves Paul and me to classify Caitlin as an immediate relative (assuming that the adoption is completed), which gives us permission to now pursue Caitlin's Visa, which gives her permission to enter the country.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm sorry for being slow to update these days, but I have 2 excuses for being such a slacker: 1) I've been out of town for 2 weeks, and 2) There is really no news to share, anyway!

We are STILL waiting for our I-800 approval. It is supposed to take 2 weeks to get our approval, but 2 weeks passed on Wednesday and we have nothing. I called USCIS- Hague division on Tuesday and was told that they did not even have our paperwork yet. Apparently it has to go through a few steps before it gets to them, but our paperwork was, of course, MIA (for the 3rd time). I'm really beginning to think that we are being punished for allowing our paperwork to expire. The sad thing is that the one who is really being punished here is a sweet, innocent little girl who is not able to come home and be with her family- just because of some silly red tape.

I mentioned to the agent that I spoke to that I had expected our paperwork to have come by now, since the average is 2 weeks to approval. He said that he had no idea where I'd heard that, but it was not true. I wanted to tell him that not only had our agency told us 2 weeks, but I have seen the charts on Rumor Queen and I know that most families get their approval in 2 weeks (unless they had a Request for More Information, which we have not). I'm so sick of being lied to, but I decided to keep my mouth shut since these people basically hold our lives in their hands right now.

Anyway, I called again on Friday and was then told that our paperwork had just arrived that day, but they had not had a chance to go through it yet. They said hopefully early next week. I reminded them that we had a little girl with special needs waiting for us, and we wanted to get her home ASAP so that we could get her the care that she needs, but I was told that about 95% of the paperwork that they currently receive is for special needs adoptions. I knew that the tide was shifting in that direction, but I had no idea that the percentage was that high!

So I have all but given up hope of traveling in September at this point. Once we get our American paperwork squared away, we still have to wait for our Chinese paperwork, which takes an average of about 7 weeks- plus 2 more weeks until we can actually leave. That puts us at the last week of September, but since we have to be out of China before October 1st (the entire country shuts down the first week of October for a big holiday), it is highly unlikely that we will be traveling in September. It looks like it will be November before Caitlin can come home.