One more step in the long process is complete! We just got our I-800A approval letter from USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service). It was just one piece of paper in the mail, but this little piece of paper took a lot of time and effort to complete! Basically, it is the United States government approving us to adopt from China. Once our home study was approved, a notarized copy of the home study along with an application was sent to USCIS. After they received these documents, we were sent a specific time to go get fingerprinted...again...in San Antonio. Looking back, I'm very thankful for the timing of it all. You CAN reschedule your appointment with USCIS, but it is a big hassle to do. Our time fell in the middle of Spring Break which meant we didn't have to take off work. The tough part was the time; 8 in the morning is early when you are driving in from Victoria, but completely and totally do-able. Of course, Brian and I had to go get fingerprinted, but so did our babysitter (and awesome and amazing friend) Melanie, who has had to go through the whole paperwork process with us since she is someone who is watching and caring for our children. So we made a quick trip to San Antonio, stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast, and were back in Victoria before noon.
So, what happens now? USCIS has sent the approval letter to Holt, our adoption agency. They will attach this to all the other paperwork we have turned in to them to complete our dossier, the group of papers that gets sent to China. Then we wait for China to look through it all and approve us. Timelines can change and are different for each family, but right now Holt is saying from the time your dossier is sent to China and the time you are matched with a child is about 9-10 months.
One question I get asked a lot is if I know who Lydia is. We don't (although we do know we want to name her Lydia :) and we won't until we are sent a file of a child, look through it, and then say we are going to adopt that child. Another question I get asked is whether she is born yet. At this point, it is very, very likely. The child we adopt will probably be between a year and three years old, which would mean she is here - we just don't know her, which can make the wait that much harder! Praying daily she is safe and getting the love and nutrition she needs; would you join me?
Meanwhile, we are getting ready for a fundraising event Brian's sister has put together. We have been amazed at how giving people and businesses have been, donating food and items for baskets we are going to put in a silent auction. If you're in Austin next Saturday, April 22nd, stop by sometime from 6-8. We'd love to see you! Email us or call if you have any questions! More info below.