We have met the last major adoption milestone with China's issuance of our Travel Approval. Our agency has requested a consulate appointment and we will find out in a couple of days when we travel to get Veronica. It looks like we may be leaving on June 23rd or June 30th - just a couple short weeks away!
Many people, especially in the adoption community like to track other people's timeline specifics. People want to know how long the process took, but that is a tricky thing to answer. Just where does the timeline begin?
In retrospect, I can see that God has been preparing us for this even before we knew it, so how far back should I go?
Does the journey start when I knew I was going to adopt someday? This was nine years ago in April when my first child was born. I look at her sweet face and knew instinctively, like all mothers around the world, that the world was a better place for her being in it. I knew that if something tragic ever happened to both Ben and myself, she would still be cared for by family and friends who loved her. My heart was broken knowing that other mothers feel the same love for their children, but may be unable to parent them. It was then that I knew I was going to adopt.
Perhaps the adoption journey doesn't really start until Ben knew the plan. I waited four years later till after Connor was born before I dropped that bombshell on Ben. Let me set the scene. Throughout another horrific pregnancy I told Ben, "I will never do this again. If I ever say I want more kids, you may laugh at me and say, 'absolutely not.'" This was a month after my little baby had been in the NICU for nearly two weeks and we weren't sure if he was going to survive, and two years after both myself and another child faced the possibility of death because of a placental abruption at the end of the pregnancy. I had told him that I could not bear the worry and heartbreak of another child.
So Ben and I were sitting on the couch watching mindless TV (I think it was Survivor). With no preamble, I turned to him and said, "Ben, I think we should have another kid and then adopt. What do you think?"
He paused. Took a breath and said, "I like kids." Thus began nearly five years of saving for adoption, a home addition, and another kid.
So adoption has been in the plan for many, many years. But, for those who want official numbers, here are some of the milestones:
Application sent to Children's Home Society and Family Services
Home study approved
I800A paperwork sent to US Government (I800A is documentation showing we'd
be swell parents to a generic child)
I800A paperwork approved by US Government
Dossier sent to China
Received LID (Log in Date - official start of wait for referral)
Referral of Veronica
LOI sent to China (Letter of Intent - acceptance of referral)
Pre-approval received from China (Oodles of paperwork look okay, but more oodles
of paperwork showing we'd be swell parents still need approval.)
LOA received (Letter of Acceptance from China saying yes, we give permission to adopt this
I800 Approval (not to be confused with I800A. This US approval says we have permission to adopt Veronica specifically, not just approval for a theoretical child like I800A)
Article 5 (Hague related approval for adoption)
Now we wait to find out when our Consulate appointment is and make definite travel plans.