adoption, authentication, capitol, milestones

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Success!

On attempt number three we can finally report that all the documents are authenticated at the state level and will be on the way to Washington tomorrow for a trip through the U.S. State Department office and the Chinese Embassy.

We would like to say it was easy, but we value honesty.  After the document rejection last week, we had the document in question re-issued and notarized the next day, and sent it by mail to the Secretary of State’s office.  We made a daily trip to the mailbox expecting the authenticated document to be there by Wednesday – Thursday at the absolute latest.  When it hadn’t arrived by Thursday, a call to the Secretary of State’s office revealed that the second notarization was not correct either. So for the second Friday in a row, Jason tracked down documents and signatures. We had a lovely and efficient return trip to the capitol city this afternoon resulting in another step in the process completed (and some ice cream for our cheerful companions).  We are so grateful!

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This office is home to a true public servant (probably a number of them) who helped expedite today’s correction so the dossier can be traveling over the weekend.

IMG_4636These two were pretty excited that the state authentications are finished – and were happy for another chance to visit Baskin Robbins.

adoption, authentication, capitol

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Proverbs 16:9
This truth was evident yesterday when we went for a drive to the Capitol to have our bundle of fourteen items authenticated. The secretary of state’s office checks to make sure that the notary public who witnessed each document is a current notary, that it is his or her signature that is on the document, and when all this checks out, the clerk attaches a coversheet verifying this with the Great Seal and a letter from the secretary of state. We were all very much anticipating seeing what that would look like and then sending the packet on to DC today.
But that is not how this plan played out.
Shortly after we arrived (but before we had written the check), the clerk who was validating the signatures came to us and pointed out that one of the notaries had neglected to include her middle initial in the signature, so her signature on the document doesn’t match her signature in the log.  They can’t authenticate it like that, because it isn’t her signature of record.
I’m here tonight to tell you three things:
1) I hadn’t anticipated that anything could or would prevent us from coming back with all fourteen documents sealed and ready to ship off to DC to head to the US Secretary of State’s office on Monday morning.
2) God wasn’t surprised, and in his kindness prepared us for this possibility by a fellow adoptive mom sharing her story of a document needing to be completely redone before it could be authenticated at the state level.
3) Some of these documents we need to have authenticated have involved many steps and some lengthy processes in order to get them finished and notarized. We are thankful that the document with the faulty notarization was not one of those. Jason was able to speak with the person who needed to reissue the document today, and we now have a corrected version in our hands, ready to head back to the Capitol for authentication on Monday.
In all, the trip was a great success. We got to show our kids around our beautiful Capitol, we happened to be there at a time to intersect with some friends who had just finished conducting some hard but important business, and we presently have 13/14 documents authenticated and ready to go on. Lord willing, we should be ready to have the dossier on its way to DC by midweek next week.
Did I mention it was a beautiful day? Here are a few pics of the goodness:
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 On the observation deck at the top of the Capitol.
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 “We were up there!”
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 Thankful to be on this journey with this crew!
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The Great Seal!

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Sweet delights to end the day

adoption, authentication, dossier, milestones

Well, this just got real!  You know that picture we shared of us standing out in the cold after having our fingerprints taken a few days ago?  Just like that, it turned into this:

This is our I 800A approval letter – the final document we needed to begin 
authenticating our dossier documents,* so we are on to the next step!

 

  
Welcome Home
Travel to China – 2 weeks in country
Invitation to travel – plans made to travel in 1 month
Finalize Immigration
Letter of Approval (LOA)
Log-in Date (LID) – Dossier has been received by PRC
Dossier to China (DTC) – will take 2-3 months once submitted
Authenticate Documents – Started 02/17/2016
Immigration Approval (I800-A) – Completed 2/16/2016
Homestudy – Completed 1/13/2016
Pre-approval from China to adopt – Completed
*Today I got the distinct pleasure of sitting and watching our four year old play with the five year old daughter of a dear friend. Five years ago, I was pregnant with our daughter and my friend was waiting to be matched with hers. As she shared her experiences while our older children played together back then, I remember learning all kinds of things about authentication and dossiers and all manner of things we are now experiencing or may soon experience. I remember reading her blog and thinking there was a bit of a foreign language to learn before travel was even on the horizon. 
Dossier – the packet of information that goes to China to represent us as a prospective family for this precious child.  It includes a wide range of information from birth and marriage certificates to letters of reference, background checks, household budget, medical history, description of our home and community, approval from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to bring a child into the country, and (my favorite part) family photos.
Authentication – a test to see how well one follows directions.  Not really – but it seems like it.  First, the gathered documents go to the Secretary of State in the state in which they were issued or notarized to get the Great Seal of that state. Next, the entire packet goes to the Secretary of State of the United States to receive a federal Great Seal, and from there, the now-twice-sealed packet goes to the Chinese Embassy to receive a special embassy seal. While it seems like many steps to go through, and some of it seems superfluous, and all of it is costly, it is crucial that adoption be conducted ethically and only when it is the best option for the child. So we gladly take these steps to make sure that all the legal and ethical processes are being attended to, and we are mindful that each of these steps brings us closer to this beloved daughter whose journey has already been hard, and whose steps we are so eager to match, to witness and to guide as she grows.  
  

adoption, creation, milestones

When I was a little girl living in Japan, I learned about mountain folds and valley folds, and about making sharp and precise creases in the colorful papers we would fold into frogs and dogs, cups and cranes. These days I am teaching young fingers how to do this, and remembering again how important it is to do one step, then the next step, the next step, and then the step after that. It’s helpful to read through the directions before we begin so we know what is coming next, but it is also quite important to simply do the steps precisely, methodically and in the correct order to be able to bring a new creation from what was simply a flat 6″ square of paper. *

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So it was, too, in Genesis 1, where we read that the earth was formless and void. God made beauty out of chaos one step at a time, each creative step laying the foundation and groundwork for the next step in the creation that delighted and pleased Him and that He pronounced “good,” and finally “very good.”

And so it is here, too, in this time of mountains and valleys, starting with one small picture that became an inquiry, then a piece of paper, signed, folded in thirds and tucked in an envelope.  That little paper multiplied and is now over halfway to filling a three inch binder as we follow each methodical step, then the next, the next, and the next.  In this project we know what many of the steps are, but we don’t know what the finished product will look like.  There is a holy mystery in the folding and unfolding of these papers, because we are both the paper folders and the paper being shaped.  Even while we make precise creases and follow orderly steps to bring a new little one into our family through this adoption process, God is working His own process, creating something beautiful and yet unrevealed in each of us.

We hope you’ll follow along to see what God is making here, but right now, here is what we know of the steps we are taking in this folding and unfolding of papers, processes, and people:


                  Welcome Home
                Travel to China – 2 weeks in country
              Invitation to travel – plans made to travel in 1 month
            Finalize Immigration
          Letter of Approval (LOA)
Log-in Date – Dossier has been received by PRC
     
Dossier – will take 2-3 months once submitted
   
Immigration Pre-Approval (I800-A) – application submitted 1/14/2016
 
Homestudy – Completed 1/13/2016
Pre-approval from China to adopt – Completed

You may also enjoy listening to what has become our family’s theme song for this adoption.  It may not have been written with adoption in mind, but as we listened to it, we decided it just beautifully illustrates some of the grief and especially the hope that are part of an adoption, whether it is an adoption into a family or our adoption as a son or daughter of God through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKMjEvF2Fkw&feature=youtu.be

Our friend Kirstin, a mother of three biological and two (going on three!) adopted children, has often observed that every adoption is really a series of miracles.  We saw and thoroughly enjoyed some parallels to that bit of wisdom in this behind-the-scenes look at our theme song video:
http://stevencurtischapman.com/behind-the-scenes-on-the-glorious-unfolding-music-video/

*In Japanese, the art of paper folding is called origami. In Chinese, it’s zhezhi.  If you’re interested in pronunciation, I recommend checking out an app called Pleco.

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adoption, dossier, milestones

For anyone who has adopted or who has walked alongside someone who has adopted a child, it will come as no surprise to hear us say that adoption is quite a series of steps. We will post soon about what those steps look like in this adoption, but yesterday we took another step closer to meeting this little one!

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Jason and I after our appointment at the US Citizenship and Immigration offices as part of our approval to bring a child into our family from another country.
adoption, China

We are excited to share the happy news of a new season of wonder!
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There is a little one in China who has captured our hearts.
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And we can’t wait to tell you more as we travel the road to meet her!