Yesterday we received the package containing our “Letter of Seeking Confirmation” from our adoption agency. Brock and I had to both sign that “yes, we still want this specific little girl.” Then, I overnighted the original letter plus Shaling’s visa application back to our adoption agency. Plus, I overnighted our I-800 (request to classify an immigrant as an immediate relative) plus seven other documents (a financial page, a copy of the letter, our USCIS approval to adopt internationally notice, Shaling’s referral documents in both Chinese and English, a convention letter from our adoption agency, and an I-864W – affidavit of support exemption) to United States Citizenship & Immigration Services.
Today, I tracked both packages. They’ve both been successfully delivered (to Texas and Delaware).Within about two weeks, we should first receive a receipt from USCIS that they have our documents and then receive a Provisional Approval. About a week after that, the National Visa Center will confirm they have cabled our case to the U.S. Consulate in China. Roughly two weeks after that, an Article 5 should be issued by the U.S. Consulate. An Article 5 Letter states that we are suitable adoptive parents and that our child will be allowed to enter and reside permanently in the United States.
The next step is for the Article 5 to be delivered to the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs), who sends out our Travel Approval (TA). This takes about two or three weeks. Next, we will have a Consulate Appointment (CA) about two or three weeks after our TA is issued.
We will travel roughly 10 days BEFORE this appointment. We will spend two weeks there, probably flying there on a Saturday and home on a Friday. “Gotcha Day” – the day we meet her – will probably take place on the Monday after we arrive. We meet her at the Civil Affairs office and sign our adoption agreement. We have to return to the Civil Affairs office the next day to register the adoption and apply for her passport, which we should be able to pick up that Friday.
On Saturday, she’ll get a TB test and medical exam and get her visa photo. We get her test result on Monday. Tuesday is her visa appointment at the U.S. Consulate and Wednesday is the big oath-taking ceremony at the U.S. Consulate (lots & lots of families do this all at once). We get her visa on Thursday and leave for home on Friday. Those are all rough estimates…some of the appointments may be a bit different.
Somewhere around the time of our Travel Approval, we also have to go to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago (in person) to get our travel visas. I also have to arrange ALL of our travel details, as my adoption agency simply connects us with a woman in Beijing that assists me with this. She only helps us with everything *in* China; in other words, I have to book our flights separately.
I just realized that the entry I posted yesterday about Shaling's birthday showed up as if it was posted on September 30. That bums me out, because even though I composed it as a draft that day, I actually posted it yesterday, ON HER BIRTHDAY. I've deleted the entry, because I didn't like it being out of order like that.
Just for posterity's sake, here are the photos that were in that entry: