The I-800A form is required for international adoption. We are basically asking the US government to approve us to adopt a child from China, and specifically one with medical needs. They read through our home study (which describes the age, gender, and potential medical conditions of a child we would adopt) and decide if we are capable of parenting that child. This lovely process takes on average 45-60 days and costs about $900. You're welcome, Uncle Sam.
Once we receive immigration approval, I'll take our documents to both the Secretary of State in Austin and the Chinese Embassy in Houston so they can become even more official. That will complete our dossier, which will then be sent to CCAI. CCAI will review it for several weeks, translate it into Chinese, and create a bound book with photographs of us to send to the Chinese adoption authority, the CCCWA. After review, the CCCWA will log us into their system (and issue a log in date, or LID). At that point we will be eligible to be matched with a child. There is a possibility we could be matched prior to LID if we identify a child who has multiple medical needs, and therefore the Chinese government does not require a LID. From what I've seen, it is more likely that we will not be matched until LID especially since we are adopting a daughter.
So here's what I think our timing looks like now:
Home Study Approved: 3/28/13
I-800A Application Mailed: 4/5/13
I-800A Application Processing: 45-60 days so 6/15/13 at latest
Dossier documents taken to Austin/Houston: 6/18/13
Dossier to CCAI: 6/20/13
CCAI reviews dossier: 7/5/13
Dossier mailed to China: 7/15/13
Wait for referral: anywhere from 2-24 months! All depends on our openness to different medical issues
After referral, we have to submit a letter of intent (LOI) to China and receive their approval for the match. I expect that we will travel 4-6 months after we are matched.
CCAI has told us that because we are hoping to adopt a girl under the age of 2 with minor to moderate needs our wait to match could be much longer. What we have found is that everyone defines 'mild' and 'moderate' differently. We are hoping to be matched sooner rather than later, and have been told that on average families are matched within 6-12 months of LID.
There have been ups and downs in this journey as we have had the opportunity to consider one little girl to be part of our family, and also seen other children we'd love to add to our family that are matched with other families who are simply quicker to make a telephone call. What God is showing me in those trials is that I am open to more medical issues than I once thought, and that my heart is ready for our family to grow. We know that He will bring a child to our family who is His very best for us, and in His very best timing.
In the meantime, we continue to pray for our daughter and listen to Caleb & Joshua talk about her daily. As we finish up the paperchase we know that the hardest part lies ahead- waiting.