adoption, China, dossier, family, fundraising, milestones

Did you see that finish?  Two 3-pointers in the last 5 seconds – one from North Carolina to tie the game and one from Villanova for the win and the national championship.  Guess that is why they call this tournament March Madness.  With that final buzzer, our Freethrows for Family contest comes to a close as well.  We are so blessed by each of you that participated in the game and for your generous contributions to our adoption fund.   We are happy to report that the Gaskill family won the iPad with the #40 square.

Additionally, in the middle of the craziness of hosting a speech and debate tournament for 100 students last week, we received our log in date on Thursday, March 31, 2016.  This is the date that our dossier was officially entered into the system for review by PRC.

Welcome Home

Travel to China

Invitation to travel

Finalize Immigration

Letter of Approval (LOA)

Log-in Date (LID) - 3/31/2016

Dossier to China (DTC) - Completed

Authenticate Documents - Completed

Immigration Approval (I800-A) - Completed

Homestudy - Completed

Pre-approval to adopt - Completed

adoption, dossier, milestones, Uncategorized

What a whirlwind this past week has been! There have been a number of amazing opportunities to see God’s hand working in this season of wonder – in conversations, in surprising opportunities, in unbelievable provision. Those are all posts in their own right, so I will just leave this good news here.  We mailed our completed, authenticated dossier to our agency on Friday, and today they received it and sent it out the door – to China! This means we have hit a major milestone – our adoption status is DTC – Dossier to China, and now we wait for our log-in date when our dossier enters the review process. In the meantime, we are praying for this little one and her caregivers, and would welcome you joining us in this, too.


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:

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!


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!


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!



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, dossier, fundraising, Uncategorized


We usually enjoy filling out March Madness brackets for some early spring fun and bragging rights, but this year we decided to do it with a twist for our adoption. We are going to be giving away an iPad Pro to the winner of our Freethrows for Family game, and we hope you will consider either playing along or spreading the word of this adoption fundraiser with anyone you know who might like to follow the tournament with an eye toward winning an iPad Pro and helping us get ready to take our next big step – sending the dossier to China.

Here is how to play:

  1. Pick a number between 1 and 68. Email your top three choices of numbers (in order of preference) to We will post updates of the remaining numbers in the comments section as numbers are taken, so you may want to check the comments first for a current list of available numbers.
  2. Make a donation of at least $25 per number you would like to claim. (You can use the PayPal button on the right or make other arrangements if you prefer.)**
  3. Begin cheering. The number you pick is the number that corresponds to a team name.  The teams have been randomly placed on the board using a roll of the dice system, so the team you are cheering on to win an iPad Pro may be in addition to your ordinary team loyalties 😉


We will send an email confirmation to you with the name of the team that corresponds to your number so the cheering may begin.

Thank you for playing along with us and for spreading the word! Please share the link to this post with friends and friends of friends!

** If you don’t want to play but are interested in making a tax-deductible contribution to our daughter’s adoption fund, please contact for how to do so. The PayPal button will not be able to generate a tax-deductible receipt.

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, 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!

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.