adoption, authentication, dossier, fundraising

When I woke up this morning, I was mindful of the fact that the NCAA Men’s Basketball ChampionshipTournament would be starting in less than four hours, and we had hoped that we would have all the Freethrows for Family spots filled. It didn’t look like that would happen, but I posted an update of the remaining spots on Facebook, went to get ready for the day, and came back to a trickle of messages that turned into a deluge! While we were packing lunch and eating breakfast, more requests for numbers came in, and by the time I was ready to leave for Bible study, it was clear that God’s work for me today was going to be here at home instead.

Friends, this is the board now:

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When we planned this, we had hoped that by some long shot, all of the spots would be filled by the time the first games began, and although I was too busy to watch the clock or any games, I am pretty sure every single one of the spots was claimed before halftime of the first game, and there were more people asking for spots after we ran out as well! As my friend Dana put it, “God’s timing is always perfect.” So many of you were instrumental in getting this board filled, and we are incredibly grateful! We will keep you posted as we find out who chose the number with the winning team underneath it. If you were wanting to enter into the story through a contribution, we are planning to do another project in the late spring or early summer, and we will welcome your help!

In a seemingly unrelated development, we have been waiting for our paperwork to be verified at the State Department and affixed with a seal at the Chinese Embassy so we can send our dossier to China, which is the next step in the process.  When we send our dossier in, we will also send a payment that is roughly 20% of the total cost of the adoption. Together with an amazing gift we received earlier this week (which is a story for another post), the contributions you made for Freethrows for Family have prepared the way for us to send the dossier right away. God’s perfect timing and provision were evident in this; just as I was getting ready to write in names on some of the last remaining spots, the FedEx driver pulled up with the documents we have been waiting for!

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With the authenticated documents in hand, we are now ready to submit our completed, authenticated dossier and the accompanying payment to the agency where they will prepare it to go to China!

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This stack of 16 authenticated documents along with letters of reference and a small photo collage showing who we are will soon be on their way!

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This is the Chinese Embassy Seal that we were so eager to see in place on our documents. It’s interesting, isn’t it?

Thank you so much for being part of this story of a glorious unfolding! You are welcome to subscribe using the button on the right so you will get an email notification of the next part of the story. We are so grateful to have friends with us in this adventure!

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.